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PASSWORDS: palm reading and technology

February 12, 2012


Apart from never remembering which one you are supposed to be using….it seems that even if I just change my browser  the old password doesn’t seem to work!

Get a new bank card and the password changes……get to the checkout and try to remember the new one….it’s embarrassing and AGISM is writ large on the face of the checkout person…..poor old dear! (yes, I do know you can change it!)

To prevent frustration  (and against all recommendations) I have mine written down in a code book, but even that has become a bit jumbled over the years… I have to remember to distinguish letters from numbers in terms of the letter O as opposed to the number zero. Having to periodically change my passwords doesn’t help either although clearly it is necessary from time to time.

TECHNOLOGY (not astrology!) TO THE RESCUE!

I am all for technology coming to my rescue in terms of helping me negotiate the ever increasing (but enriching) complexities of life…..

 Use your heart instead of your head!Read More
 This weeks “New Scientist” reports some research from the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan.  A group of scientists  may have an answer to my password frustrations in the not too distant future as least as far as computer data is concerned.
Jacob Aron reports

A Secret Key: our unique heartbeat

Perhaps you need to use your heart instead of your head. An encryption system that uses the unique pattern of your heartbeat as a secret key could potentially be used to make a hard drive that will only decrypt in response to your touch.

Our heartbeats follow an irregular pattern that never quite repeats and that is unique to everyone. Chun-Liang Lin at the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan, and colleagues used an electrocardiograph (ECG) to extract the unique mathematical features underlying this pattern. They then used the information to generate a secret key that forms part of an encryption scheme based on the mathematics of chaos theory, by which small changes in initial conditions lead to very different outcomes.

Just get your palm read!

As a proof of concept, Lin’s system currently takes the user’s ECG reading from each palm once, and a key based on that reading is stored and used for all later decryptions. He says the goal is to build the system into external hard drives and other devices that can be decrypted and encrypted simply by touching them.

The work will appear in the journal Information Sciences (DOI: 10.1016/j.ins.2012.01.016).

Now that sounds a great idea even if I don’t understand the maths of chaos theory!

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