DARPA's advice on passwords: Dump 'em.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency wants to eliminate passwords and use an individual’s typing style and other behavioral traits for user authentication, writes Kathleen Hickey in Government Computer News.

Creating, remembering and managing long, complex passwords is “inherently unnatural,” according to the agency. In addition, most authetication systems can't tell if the authenticated user is replaced by someone else during the session.

To read Hickey's full report, including DARPA's preferred authentication methods, click here.

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Reader comments

Fri, Mar 23, 2012

Hmm... I guess if I used this, I would have to stop drinking so much coffee - not only do I type more erratically, but also sometimes type one-handed to hold the mug. Another nutty idea to drop down the circular file.

Fri, Mar 23, 2012

If that is truely DARPA's advice, then I have no confidence in this organization to get much of anything right. Individual behavior always has some variability. When you have a system trying to recognize hundreds, if not thousands, of individual behavior ranges, often overlaping, on its system, then it is going to have a lot misinterpretations with people constantly being identified as someone they are not.

Thu, Mar 22, 2012

Can't imagine it working without replacing the entire pool of workstations with something a LOT faster. None of the workstations in my shop would be able to keep up without affecting the result. I can see a huge can of worms with this idea... What about simple things like how someone types differently when on the phone vs not? They'd be much better to put a little vacuum in the keyboard to get DNA samples. At least the processing would be done somewhere else.

Thu, Mar 22, 2012 JimO

It isn't an easy thing to do. My personal style seems to change from Monday to Friday, from good days to bad days. And then there is the problem of atrofication - as I get older, my style changes. And what if a person gets injured and can't use both hands (if they presently use both hands)? Too many "I before E escept after C, and in words like ..." problems.

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