Feeds

Mice pave way for online signatures

Cunning plan

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

The essential guide to IT transformation

Computer scientists at the University of London have developed a way for people to sign for goods or services online using a mouse instead of a pen.

Boffins have developed software that is able to uniquely identify the range of movements people make in writing their signature.

The technology was invented by Ross Everitt and Dr Peter McOwan, from the Department of Computer Science at Queen Mary, University of London as a supplement to traditional password-based systems in verifying people's identity online.

The system uses a neural network to pick out the distinctive features of the way a person uses a mouse. Given around 20 samples of the way someone signs his or her name with a mouse the system can produce a biometric specific to that individual.

Dr McOwan said: "Our system builds on already familiar user skills, typing and mouse movements, and we find users can reliably reproduce complex mouse-based signatures.

"We are in the process of patenting the technology and hope to speak to companies interested in helping to develop the system or license the technology."

The system essentially provides an extra biometric layer on top of traditional passwords. Its inventors say the approach is superior to alternatives such as two-factor authentication tokens because it would only need additional software on user's machines to operate.

The system can work with both optical and mechanical mice. Early trials with students at Queen Mary show it was 99 per cent accurate in spotting who was using a mouse to sign; so the system needs further development before it's ready for prime time.

From a commercial perspective, it seems more likely that with the introduction of chip and pin users will be more likely asked to verify online purchases using a PIN number than by signing for goods or services. Much will depend of the robustness and accuracy of the Queen Mary system and it'll be interesting to see how the approach develops over time. ®

Related stories

Chip and PIN: not enough to beat card fraud
Small.biz needs help with chip and PIN
Smart credit card scheme kicks off in the UK
Passport biometric trials point way for ID cards
Snags hold up biometrics, experts say
Banks 'fail to protect IT systems'
Nationwide banks on biometrics
Biometric sensors beaten senseless in tests

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

More from The Register

next story
Rupert Murdoch says Google is worse than the NSA
Mr Burns vs. The Chocolate Factory, round three!
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Germany 'accidentally' snooped on John Kerry and Hillary Clinton
Dragnet surveillance picks up EVERYTHING, USA, m'kay?
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
Think crypto hides you from spooks on Facebook? THINK AGAIN
Traffic fingerprints reveal all, say boffins
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.