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Keystroke Analysis Could Replace Passwords

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) - The way each person types on a keyboard is unique - a digital imprint of sorts. Now technology is in the works to use that typing pattern as a security measure, and possibly even replace the password system we've come to know online.

Morris Chang, an electrical and computer engineering professor at Iowa State University is developing the verification technology

"We all take the different experience or knowledge when we come to the typing and it has to do with our past experience, genes, or even our knowledge and those [keystrokes] are different from the individual to individual," Chang said.

Chang's technology monitors typing constantly, ensuring that the computer hasn't been hijacked. The Defense Department is apparently interested and has given Chang a $500,000 grant to develop the technology.

Not everyone though, is convinced keystroke analysis can offer a replacement for passwords.

Adam O’Donnell, a security expert, notes the significant possibility of "false positive" readings. "Let’s say you're typing and you want to finish your sentence and answer your cell phone, or drink a cup of coffee. That pattern could throw off your typing rate," O'Donnell said.