Security professionals often lament the “human element.” It is only due to human fallibility that our systems are not secure. We are not good at coming up with or keeping track of passwords. We don’t follow security guidelines. We are easily fooled by phishing or social engineering. We often act in ways that leave systems vulnerable.
It is time to flip this attitude around. Yes, humans are not machines. We are wonderfully flawed. And each of us is profoundly unique; a combination of nature and nurture, a product of our experience and circumstance, all woven together with the human spirit to form the tapestry of who we are. All of these little imperfections are not “bugs” to be fixed but form the core of our humanity.
Today, we are releasing a new API called GaitAuth™. It can authenticate a person based on the motion associated with their gait—the way they walk—completely passively and at a high level of accuracy. It can return an authentication result after only a few steps of carrying your phone. This allows you to authenticate a user using one of the most natural human actions: walking.
You may wonder how unique someone’s gait truly is. Your gait is a product of your unique physiology and years of muscle memory. And unlike static biometrics like fingerprint or facial recognition, it is dynamic and constantly changing, and it is hard for others to spoof and steal. We’ve tested our models using anonymized data from millions of mobile phones and found the accuracy of gait-based authentication can rival other biometrics like fingerprint, iris, or face. Gait also has the benefit that it continues to work even if the user is wearing a face mask or gloves.
GaitAuth is the culmination of almost four years of research and development from the UnifyID team to bring a solution that is highly accurate, efficient, robust, and secure. I’m proud of what they have been able to accomplish, and the results are truly amazing.
Because GaitAuth can run passively in the background, it is useful in a wide variety of situations:
GaitAuth is now available for iOS and Android as a modular SDK you can link into any mobile application. It is lightweight (<2 MB), low-power, and uses only minimal network as the motion data is processed directly on the phone.
GaitAuth is the first of our public APIs we are releasing with the goal of continuous, implicit authentication, with more to come. Rather than view humans as the weak link in security, we want to use what makes us unique as humans to strengthen security. Our GaitAuth API is our first “step” towards our goal of making our experiences with security and authentication more seamless, more usable, and ultimately, more human.
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