Biometric identification tools include a new wrist band developed by cryptographers at the University of Toronto that uses a voltmeter to read your individual heartbeats in order to identify you instead of a password so you can use your computer or mobile digital device, according to the September 10, 2013 news release, "Nymi by Bionym launches using your unique heartbeat to unlock your world."
You also may wish to check out the September 11, 2013 New York Times article by Somini Sengupta, "Machines Made to Know You, by Touch, Voice, Even by Heart." The new wave of identity theft protection is to create a machine you can use to verify your identity. Tools in use currently include heartbeats, irises, fingertips and voices, and more ways to identify you are in the works.
The biometric technology wristband reads your heart rhythms to connect with devices for identity authentication
The next generation of biometric technology launches today with the Nymi, from Bionym, a technology start-up founded by University of Toronto engineering graduates. The Nymi is the world's first wearable authentication device that uses your unique heartbeat to unlock your identity. The convenient and secure authentication is enabled through an embedded electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor.
When the Nymi recognizes your personal ECG, it will communicate your identity to your devices. You remain authenticated until the Nymi is removed. The activated Nymi can then be used to gain access to all registered devices, completely bypassing passwords and PINs for seamless and secure access. Passwords, PINs and even keys and cards will become a thing of the past.
Not only is your ECG entirely unique, but the technology alone is also unlike anything currently on the market. The Nymi empowers users to bring their identity back to the digital world, not as a number, but as a person. Beyond direct access to your technology, the Nymi also allows users to take their identity to a completely interactive level. Simple, task-specific gesture commands allow for a dynamic interactive experience between the user and the technology that surrounds their daily life. Both motion sensing and proximity detection work simultaneously to enhance technological experiences. Something as simple as the twist of a wrist now has the capability to unlock a car or more.
While offering convenience and ease of use, security remains a top priority. The Nymi functions as a three-factor security system. It requires your personalized Nymi, your unique heartbeat, and a smartphone or device that has been registered to the app. This system, and the cutting edge biometrics supporting it, allow for complete security without compromising convenience. By registering with the app, users have the ability to create custom notifications, allowing for seamless connection to emails, texts, social updates and more. The app will be available on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac OSX.
"When it comes to identity, privacy is a chief concern," explains Karl Martin, CEO of Bionym, in the September 10, 2013 news release, Nymi by Bionym launches using your unique heartbeat to unlock your world, "The Nymi has been built by the principles of Privacy by Design. This means that each user has complete control over their data and identity. Transparency is very important to Bionym's culture, and every user has a right to know where their data is going."
Most importantly, the Nymi is about the future. The unlocked potential of this authentication-based technology is far reaching. The Nymi is looking to interact with developers to create a community that will explore the digital and social opportunities that the Nymi unlocks.
The Nymi has been available for pre-order since September 3, 2013 for under $100, and will be delivered in early 2014. To find out more about pricing, or to pre-order now please go to the Nymi website, or follow the company on Twitter @Nymiband.
Bionym is a leader in cutting-edge biometric recognition systems. Bionym develops innovative identity and convenience-based security solutions for modern problems, using revolutionary technologies to protect privacy and ensure data security. Bionym was part of the inaugural cohort of the Creative Destruction Lab at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. In August 2013, Bionym closed $1.4M (CAD) in seed financing, with the majority of the investment via the Creative Destruction Lab "G7" members. Bionym was founded in 2011 and is located in downtown Toronto, Canada.
What do geek culture consumers worry about? Technophiles as do general consumers sometimes worry whether anyone can take a fingerprint, model it in 3-D using software, print out with a 3-D printer as a fake skin and put that skin over your own finger to steal someone's identity using a false fingerprint. Concerns such as these drive cryptographers to invent newer tools that can't be fooled.
After all, everyone has a unique heartbeat. You can't imitate it to steal someone's identity, but inventors don't stop there. What if someone records a heartbeat and plays it on an audio file to fool any given machine? It's like unraveling one puzzle after another to find a code that can't be hacked and falsified.
The latest field of high-tech alternatives is called biometric authentication
Authentication is about high-tech alternatives, sometimes spurred by science fiction into realistic inventions. Worries about security risks associated with traditional user name and password systems have looked to science fiction sometimes for new ideas. Fingerprint sensors are new, but sometimes not new enough or not the only tool in town.
Apple on September 10, 2011 introduced two new iPhones, including for the first time a model with a fingerprint sensor that can be used instead of a passcode to open the phone and buy products, says the NY Times article. Authentication products are tools that can be used with all types of devices, not only phones or computers. You have fingerprint and iris sensors, heartbeat sensors in various phone or computer devices, including wristbands, and tools that turn phones into devices to verify your identity.
Wristband for biometric authentication developed by cryptographers at the University of Toronto
A lot of people may want the wristband with a voltmeter to read a heartbeat. The purpose is to identify you and communicate that identity to a device. It communicates securely so no one lock you out of your device. The authentication tool is known as the wristband, Nymi. What you want from such a tool is a device that communicates the identity of your unique heartbeat to turn on your device such as a phone, computer, car, door lock, or anything else that it is supposed to identify. You want the ability to communicate your identity securely to the device you want to work when you use an authentication tool. Check out Clef, a start-up firm in San Francisco.
This firm, the NY Times article reports, has developed a mobile app that lets you send an encrypted key from a mobile app to a desktop computer. Then, the Web site you are trying to enter can effectively recognize you based on your phone, instead of a typed-in password. Other companies mentioned in the NY Times article include LaunchKey, a Las Vegas start-up that is in a testing phase, also looks to the mobile phone for authentication. You register with LaunchKey and connect your account to a particular cellphone. Then, when you log into a Web site or mobile app that accepts the start-up’s service, it sends a notification to that phone. Using an app, you move an icon on the screen to authorize authentication, says the NY Times article.
Another company is the start-up OneID, based in Redwood City, California. This firm offers a single sign-on that can be used on various websites and devices, for example, opening your garage door. In the long run, for every authentication tool, consumers want a device that securely protects access to their device, home, car, or anything else where privacy is concerned.
What happens is when people connect everything in their home or bank to the Internet, you need to know what to do about security and convenience. You want to control access so that only you can use the device or unlock your private dwellings, computers, phones, and other property. The new revolution in geek culture is to be able to use another tool instead of passwords to protect your privacy and property from identity thieves. Not all biometric authentication devices work the way you want them to work. What the industry and consumers want are security tools that provide security. The question now is whether the fingerprint sensors will work or will hackers find a way to break that code like they have broken password codes.
Security for biometiric authentication tools
No faster than authentication tools have gone into devices, hackers who know about geek culture have found ways to break into the tools. But will the latest ones outsmart the hackers and identity thieves? For example, how well will Apple’s new fingerprint sensor will work? Only time will tell whether the tool stands up and protects the privacy of users.
What people worry about is that when users' fingerprints are stored on any given phone rather than in a cloud, can online servers or app developers get possession of everyone's fingerprints? Check out the site about privacy concerns in the NY Times article. Assuming the fingerprints will not be sent to online servers and not get into the hands of app developers, consumers still worry about what will, if anything, eventually be available to app developers? For more information, check out the Nymi wristband site.
The site has a video you can watch. And according to the Nymi site, when you clasp the Nymi around your wrist it powers on. By placing a finger on the topside sensor while your wrist is in contact with the bottom sensor, you complete an electrical circuit. After you feel a vibration and see the LEDs illuminate, your Nymi knows you are you and your devices will too.
You will stay authenticated until your Nymi is taken off. The site also notes that to take control of your identity you must have your Nymi, your unique heartbeat and an Authorized Authentication Device (AAD), which would be a smartphone or device registered with our app. The Nymi is also built upon the principles of Privacy by Design, which means that only you control and access your identity and personal information. The Nymi site also at this date says you can preorder the device for $79. For more information, also see the TIME.com aricle, "Nymi Bracelet Turns Heartbeat into a Password."
The University of California, Berkeley headset will be able to read your brainwaves and verify your thoughts instead of you typing a password
Also check out the site, FIDO Alliance that also works on password alternatives. And regarding the wave of hand-held mobile devices, can it be linked to an increase in near-sightedness? The Mission of the FIDO Alliance is to change the nature of online authentication by developing technical specifications that define an open, scalable, interoperable set of mechanisms that reduce the reliance on passwords to authenticate users, by operating industry programs to help ensure successful worldwide adoption of the specifications, and by submitting mature technical specification(s) to recognized standards development organization(s) for formal standardization. Companies affiliated with Fido are testing products, like fingerprint readers and software that recognizes faces and voices. Yubico, a company affiliated with the Fido Alliance, has been testing an authentication device, called the YubiKey, says the NY Times article.
Yubico makes the YubiKey, a one-time-pad supplied as a USB device. The tool generates passwords and sends them to the PC as keyboard characters. The YubiKey is a hardware authentication device, designed to provide an easy to use and secure compliment to the traditional username and password. For more information, check out the site, "Meet the YubiKey."
Computer scientists at UC Berkeley say a simple and cheap headset will be able to read your brain waves to verify your thoughts — and save you the work of typing in a password. Also, you may wish to check out the UC Berkeley article, "New eye clinic to target youth amid epidemic of nearsightedness." And check out, "New app puts idle smartphones to work for science." See, "Paper-thin e-skin responds to touch, holds promise for sensory robotics and interactive environments."
What consumers worry about most when it comes to geek culture
Consumers don't like when they log in with Facebook credentials and a thief takes those credentials and puts up fake websites pretending to be you. You don't want to be hacked or imitated, especially when the thief puts up ideas, opinions, articles or anything else contrary to what you believe or does anything pretending to be you. There has to be tools to make this impossible without giving away so much information that advertisers overwhelm you with promotions for products you can't afford or don't want. Also check out Mozilla's took called Persona alternative. Geek culture is about inventing more tools for privacy and protection of your identity, privacy, and property.
At the same time there are the chaos makers who try to hack into every new tool that comes online to show they're as smart as the authentication tool inventors. It's a competition of the minds for good and evil, and good always wins, at least in the good books. Meanwhile, for you and us, the average consumers, privacy and identity protection is cherished. No one likes when they want to log into a site where they work everyday and find it has been blocked by hackers trying to punish them for just being at work, even if the job is a labor of love without guaranteed pay.