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AI-based typing biometrics might be authentication's next big thing

Lucian Constantin | Jan. 30, 2017
Advances in machine learning pave the way for typing-based authentication services like TypingDNA.

Trying out the service is free for the first 1,000 authentication requests. Beyond that users have to buy prepaid packages that include basic and professional plans and a variety of pricing tiers. For example, a basic package for 5,000 requests is priced at $99 and a basic package for 50,000 requests is priced at $999. The company plans to add a monthly subscription plan, but for now you can only buy these prepaid packages and add more credit when you reach the limit. API access is available through the firm's website and the company says it works for users typing in any language.

The company is also developing an application for desktops and laptops that performs "continuous authentication." The application sits in the background and learns the computer owner's typing patterns. It can then quickly lock out any unauthorized user who tries to use the computer when it's left unlocked and unattended.

Typing pattern analysis can also have applications beyond authentication. TypingDNA is currently conducting research into the area of user profiling and has built an experimental system that attempts to determine a person's gender, age, IQ, openness and personality (Myers–Briggs Type Indicator) based on how they type.

The large number of data breaches announced by online service providers over the past few years is a clear indication that password-based authentication is no longer enough. Two-factor authentication systems, often based on one-time-use codes sent via text messages or generated by mobile apps, have now become the norm.

But SMS is not a secure channel for transmitting authentication codes and users might not always have their mobile phones with them. AI-powered typing biometrics could be a viable alternative for the web, much more so than other forms of biometrics that require special access to peripheral devices.


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