To log in, just type. How typing biometrics makes life easier

Privacy news
1 min
Magnifying glass over a computer keyboard.

The way you type is just about as distinctive as a fingerprint or retina pattern, and the simple act of typing might soon become more common as a way to authenticate your identity.

The main application for “typing biometrics” is as a form of two-factor authentication (2FA). Also known as multi-factor authentication, 2FA adds a layer of security to account login processes by requiring other credentials than just a single password.

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While there’s a whole suite of 2FA options out there, some methodssuch as the commonly used passcode sent to your phoneare far less secure than others. Then there are traditional biometrics, like fingerprints and voice scans, which are regarded as accurate but also invasive, raising questions such as What happens if your biometric data is compromised?

What are typing biometrics?

Typing biometrics, or keystroke dynamics, is an AI-based technology that analyzes and stores a user’s typing patterns, which include factors such as typing speed, the duration of a single keypress, and how long it takes between releasing a key to pressing the next.

This technology is not quite new; in fact, typing biometrics was developed almost 20 years agoalbeit with varying results. In recent years however, companies such as TypingDNA claim to have perfected it, boasting a 99-99.9% accuracy rate.

For users, this means a more convenient and seamless identity verification experience that keeps you protected without having to scramble for your mobile device or reaching for a hardware key when signing in. In terms of security, it’s also a far better option than SMS authenticationwhich is vulnerable to attacks such as SIM swapping.

Should you switch to typing biometrics?

The main benefit of typing biometrics is convenience. If it is indeed 99% accurate, then it’s also a win on the security front. But there are a few factors that make this authentication method less reliable than other biometrics, namely that people’s typing patterns can change over time, or an individual might become unable to type due to injury. 

That said, the downsides are few. If typing biometrics does go mainstream, the method is likely to be as good as existing ones.

Would you use typing biometrics for 2FA? Let us know in the comments.

Technophile and self-professed meme queen with a penchant for games, dogs, and sushi.