Sending passwords through an Internet connection or Bluetooth is not safe anymore so these researchers have developed a technology that sends passwords through nothing else but the human body.
Researchers at the University of Washington have finally figured out a way to use a human body to transmit sensitive information such as your passwords and other identification data using signals generated from fingerprint sensors on smartphones and touchpads.
This means you no longer have to worry about being hacked or having your information stolen by unscrupulous cyber criminals. This is because when your bodies become the main transmitters, you no longer need mediums such as Wi-Fi to transfer data.
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So how does it work?
Surely it sounds incredible but the engineers have explained the mechanism that seems pretty plausible and comprehensible for that matter.
They used an example of an electronic door lock and an iPhone. So you have an iPhone in which the password details are stored. The password can be in the form of your fingerprints. And let’s say the electronic door lock requires your fingerprints to unlock. Traditionally, what one would do is simply have a fingerprint sensor placed that would recognize your fingerprints once you put finger on it. Next, the data would then be transmitted through a signal that travels in the air and caught by the receiver in the electronic door lock. Nevertheless, the drawback of this method would be that the travelling signals might get intercepted.
The study, which used 10 subjects, shows that with bodies replacing air as the primary medium of transmission, the signals generated by the fingerprint sensors in your iPhone, would travel through your body to the electronic door lock. Of course, you will need to touch your door lock, otherwise, the signals will not be received.
Other things that have been found include the fact that the signals can even move through your body even if you are moving. Size, weight, and other physical factors do not matter and the signals can travel seamlessly.
The sensors used were those found on an iPhone and those on touchpads of Lenovo laptops and the speed of the signals generated was around 25 bits per second and 50 bits per second respectively. Plus, the receivers can be anywhere. As long as they are in contact with the user’s body, the mechanism will not fail.
“Fingerprint sensors have so far been used as an input device. What is cool is that we’ve shown for the first time that fingerprint sensors can be re-purposed to send out information that is confined to the body,” said senior author Shyam Gollakota, UW assistant professor of computer science and engineering.
A greater opportunity
Some of you might say what’s the big deal? Well, when you think of the opportunities that this can lead to, it surely becomes a huge deal.
The scientists say that such a technique can be used on medical devices to authenticate a user’s identity. Wearable technologies that monitor a patient’s activity can hence be made much more secure. Once the producers of sensing devices give a greater access to their software, the possibilities become endless as faster ways of transmitting information can be discovered.