Feeds

Bionym bracelet promises to replace passwords with ECG biometrics

Until the battery dies or heart gives out, that is

3 Big data security analytics techniques

Bionym, a startup from the University of Toronto, is looking to banish password woes with a bracelet that handles authentication by monitoring your heartbeat.

nymi

Password that's closer to wristy than handy

The Nymi device uses electrocardiogram (ECG) sensors in the top and bottom of the bracelet to build up a unique password based on your heartbeat. Everyone's heartbeat is subtly different and the device can, it is claimed, build a unique password system about this.

Once this has been established, the bracelet can then broadcast this password via Bluetooth to devices that carry the authentication application, when in range. Bionym has also built in an accelerometer and gyroscope to allow for gesture controls, and the team claims that there are hardware functions that stop any password being slurped by passersby.

The device went on preorder on Tuesday for an introductory price of $79 for the first 25,000 punters; just under a thousand have signed up so far, with the unit going on general release next year for $99 per bracelet. It will be available in black, white, and orange.

It's a cute idea, but like so much of biometric security, the devil is in the details. Biometric systems are usually plagued by false positive readings, and while this might not be an issue in this device, we can see a few problem areas.

For example, if you're using the Nymi to log into your phone and suffer a heart attack would you be locked out of calling your doctor? Similarly, battery life will be something to check – lose power at a crucial moment and you could be left locked out of all your devices, including your car, according to the promotional video.

Passwords are a necessary evil in this world, and hardware devices to handle them are nothing new. While the Nymi looks promising, El Reg will wait for some more details before drinking the ECG Kool-Aid just yet. ®

SANS - Survey on application security programs

More from The Register

next story
Leaked pics show EMBIGGENED iPhone 6 screen
Fat-fingered fanbois rejoice over Chinternet snaps
Oh no, Joe: WinPhone users already griping over 8.1 mega-update
Hang on. Which bit of Developer Preview don't you understand?
Microsoft lobs pre-release Windows Phone 8.1 at devs who dare
App makers can load it before anyone else, but if they do they're stuck with it
True optical zoom coming to HTC smartphone cameras
Time to ditch that heavy DSLR? Maybe in a year, year and a half
Rounded corners? Pah! Amazon's '3D phone has eye-tracking tech'
Now THAT'S what we call a proper new feature
Feast your PUNY eyes on highest resolution phone display EVER
Too much pixel dust for your strained eyeballs to handle
Zucker punched: Google gobbles Facebook-wooed Titan Aerospace
Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon flying broadband-bot
Leaked photos may indicate slimmer next-generation iPad
Will iPad Air evolve into iPad Helium?
US mobile firms cave on kill switch, agree to install anti-theft code
Slow and kludgy rollout will protect corporate profits
prev story

Whitepapers

SANS - Survey on application security programs
In this whitepaper learn about the state of application security programs and practices of 488 surveyed respondents, and discover how mature and effective these programs are.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.