Potential Replacement for Passwords on Many Mobile Devices
Being able to carry a small computer around in our pockets is definitely useful, but it can also be risky. As the devices are so small, it is easy for them to be misplaced or taken, and by using them in public, security measures like passwords and pattern locks could be picked up by others. Researchers at Rutgers University though are investigating a new system that could keep our devices secure, without being hard to remember or use.
Pins, passwords, and patterns have limits as securities systems by either offering only so many combinations or by being susceptible to a stranger's gaze. Instead the researchers are looking into free-form gestures, in which the user traces out an arbitrary pattern on a screen to unlock the device. Unlike the connect-the-dot patterns though, this approach can use the entire screen and be as complicated as the user wants it to be, without being harder to remember. Also because of how the input is recognized, the risk of someone looking over your shoulder is less than you may expect. The specific angles of gestures and the speed at which they are made are analyzed, so even if the pattern were compromised, the security may not be. When this exact threat was tested, none of the would-be attackers were able to successfully gain access to the devices.
While the research so far is very promising, it is in its early stages and a lot more study is needed. It is hard to say when this security technique may reach our devices, if ever, and in what form.
Source: Rutgers University