What are Behavioral Biometrics?
Humans are creatures of habit. The way we walk, the way we type, how we move our cursors around on a website’s login or checkout page—these are deeply ingrained rituals that, while we don’t necessarily realize it consciously, are unique to us. As much as we can be identified by the physical details of our various body parts, we are also defined by how we perform our daily tasks. This is the world of behavioral biometrics, where what you are is verified by how you act.
Behavioral biometrics are an emerging modality in the biometric landscape, with clear applications in enterprise security, online banking, and mobile commerce. In general, a behavioral biometric system will create a profile of a user’s quotidian habits and run in the background of an application—invisible to the user—silently matching the nuance of her actions for verification. When enough of a discrepancy is found between user and profile, access can be denied or an additional verification method can enter play. For instance: if a user fails to pass the behavioral check for some reason, a request for facial recognition can be triggered.
Where can I find Behavioral Biometrics?
Currently there are a few notable use cases of behavioral biometrics. A popular application of the technology is as an anti-fraud measure often termed human detection, which serves to use behavioral profiles to catch malicious bots that are attempting to hijack user accounts. Another is in the physical world, where cameras and smartphones can be used to measure a person’s walking gait to verify her identity and subsequently grant her access to restricted areas. Often in these real life scenarios, gait biometrics are part of a multimodal system, such as in FST Biometrics’ IMID (In Motion Identification) biometric security system which uses behavioral, facial, and voice biometrics.
How are Behavioral Biometrics making a difference?
Even though behavioral biometrics are relatively new on the scene, they are already in use and making a difference.
Behavioral biometrics have specifically found a niche for themselves in the enterprise, where businesses are looking for solutions to the high profile and ever growing threat of data breaches. The latest version of Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection uses behavioral biometric sensors to protect enterprises from the digital threats they face on a daily basis. In that same vein, Balabit’s Blindspotter security platform uses the behavioral modality to detect hijacked or inappropriately shared accounts so that data breaches can be prevented.
In a more novel deployment, the aforementioned IMID technology from FST Biometrics (which is normally deployed as a physical access solution) has been deployed in the ICER Innovation Center, an innovation museum in the Netherlands. In this context, IMID uses motion biometrics, as well as face and voice recognition, to tailor a visitor’s experience of the exhibits.