2FA is now so firmly ingrained in our daily routines that we basically speak in verification codes. Luckily, for the security obsessed amongst us, there’s new technology that’s more secure than just relying on passwords alone.
Keyboard dynamics is an emerging layer of multi-factor authentication. The way that people type is unique to them, so these biometrics are being used to identify the user along with passwords.
Romanian start-up TypingDNA is a free Chrome extension that adds an extra layer of security, which uses keyboard biometrics. The start-up say that typing patterns allow machine learning algorithms to monitor how long it takes users to move between 44 commonly used characters, including the length of time that each key is pressed.
You simply sign up and type in your username and password, and this information is then used for further visits to sites using the Chrome extension. Here it’s not what you type that counts, but how you type it (but obviously you also you need the password etc too).
If the patterns match, the Typing DNA extension sends you an encryption key that is used to unlock local keys held for each site. It sounds like a useful extra identity check to have, unless you’re already using a password manager of course.
Keys stored locally
The extension is said to work with Google, Gmail, Dropbox, Evernote, Facebook and many other sites. The main downsides seem to be that the extension only works with Chrome, each user account only works with one computer as keys are stored locally, and using the extension on a second computer would mean setting up a secondary account.
We’ve not done a thorough check over the extension yet, but it seems like a promising area of authentication.
Let’s just hope that no one can mimic the way that we type…