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Passwords in the future could be replaced by your heartbeat

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User-created passwords could one day become obsolete, if research led by Chun-Liang Lin at the National Chung Hsing University in Taichung, Taiwan, proves successful.

The industrious team behind this groundbreaking new technology, which creates a fully-encrypted password out of a user’s heartbeat, could forever change the way we access our protected and valuable personal information. Email passwords, bank account passwords, and more could all be accessed with the touch of your finger and verified with the beat of your heart.

How does it work, though? According to a recent article in New Scientist, the team over at the National Chung Hsing University has successfully tested the concept of translating a human heartbeat into an encryption key by using and electrocardiograph (ECG) reading from a person’s palm and capturing the unique signature a person’s heart makes. Once extracted, a secret key is generated as part of an encryption scheme.

Because a person’s heartbeat is completely unique, and also has an irregular pattern that never repeats, the encryption scheme is based on the mathematics of the chaos theory, whereby small changes to initial conditions lead to different outcomes. In other words, you won’t ever get the same key twice.

Lin and his colleagues hope to build this system into external hard drives and other devices that can be also be encrypted, decrypted, and accessed, all by simply touching them.

Of course, their research brings about some very interesting possibilities regarding the security of information and files. This new technology could alleviate the headache suffered when your personal accounts are attacked, as anyone who has ever had the misfortune of getting their Twitter or Facebook account hacked know all too well.

User-generated passwords would no longer be easily hacked through malicious programs. The need to physically write down a password or store it on your computer would practically be eliminated. If implemented by various institutions like banks or credit card companies, access to your financial information would be secured even further and accessible via a biologically unique password only available via your touch. And those are merely a sample of potential benefits to Lin’s research.

As we recently highlighted in an article on picking strong passwords and keeping them that way, no password is every truly safe, but if the research being conducted by Lin’s team can make it harder for intruders to access our data while making it easier on us, then that will definitely put all our hearts and minds at ease.

The work conducted by Chun-Liang Lin and his research team will appear in the journal Information Sciences

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Reistlin Magere