Dartmouth College researchers have unveiled a new wearable tech security device: an electronic bracelet that authenticates users on computer terminals.
The bracelet was developed to help resolve the AFK security problem that arises when users leave their computer terminals, having finished what they were doing, and forget to log out, at which point the terminal becomes vulnerable to remote access hacking. Using its built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, the bracelet collects data on a user’s wrist movement and transmits it to the terminal; the system then verifies that the user input recorded by the terminal matches the wrist movements recorded by the bracelet. This two-way authentication process is what gives the bracelet its name: the Zero-Effort Bilateral Recurring Authentication, or ZEBRA, bracelet.
While the bracelet correctly identified all potential non-user input – in other words, hackers – within 11 seconds during trials, its overall accuracy in verifying the correct user stood at only 85 percent. It’s therefore primarily intended as a kind of secondary security protocol; the researchers note that their system “complements any method that may be used for initial authentication, such as a password, a token, or a fingerprint biometric.”