LatentGesture to make mobile devices more secure

Scientists have developed a personal touch signature security system that monitors your taps and swipes to secure your gadgets.

Published Date
09 - Apr - 2014
| Last Updated
09 - Apr - 2014
LatentGesture to make mobile devices more secure

Cyber security researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a new security system called LatentGesture which continuously monitors how a user taps and swipes a mobile device. The system can be programmed to lock the device, if the movements don't match the owner's tendencies.

Chau and his team of researchers have already tested the system on 20 participants. The participants were asked to tap on different buttons, swipe slider bars and check boxes to fill out an electronic form. LatentGesture tracked their tendencies and created a profile for each person. Then the researchers designated one person's signature as the "owner" of the device and repeated the tests. The security system was able to identify owners and was found to be 98 percent accurate on a smartphone and 97 percent on tablets. The team will be presenting its study at ACM Chinese CHI 2014 from April 26 to 27 in Toronto for the first time.

"The system learns a person's 'touch signature,' then constantly compares it to how the current user is interacting with the device," said Polo Chau, a Georgia Tech College of Computing assistant professor who led the study.

"Just like your fingerprint, everyone is unique when they use a touchscreen," said Chau. "Some people slide the bar with one quick swipe. Others gradually move it across the screen. Everyone taps the screen with different pressures while checking boxes."

The research team has also programmed the system to store up to five touch signatures on the same device -- one "owner" and four authorized users. "This feature could be used when a child uses her dad's tablet," said College of Computing sophomore Premkumar Saravanan. "The system would recognize her touch signature and allow her to use the device. But if she tried to buy an app, the system could prevent it."

Researchers added that the system doesn't require any additional passwords but is constantly running in the background making it even more secure. "It's pretty easy for someone to look over your shoulder while you're unlocking your phone and see your password," said Samuel Clarke, another College of Computing student on the research team. "This system ensures security even if someone takes your phone or tablet and starts using it."

Source: Georgia Institute of Technology