NEWS RELEASE: New research shows keystroke biometric is an inexpensive, effective method to identify, authenticate online test takers, monitor email transactions over company servers

The keystroke biometric is an inexpensive, yet effective method of user identification and authentication, according to new findings of Pace University researchers who have been studying this particular form of biometrics for the past eight years.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

We know you by your typing.

New research shows keystroke biometric is an inexpensive, effective method to identify, authenticate online test takers, monitor email transactions over company servers

With a “high degree of accuracy” Pace Keystroke Biometric System recognizes typing characteristics unique to individuals

White Plains, NY – May 19, 2011 – The keystroke biometric is an inexpensive, yet effective method of user identification and authentication, according to new findings of Pace University researchers who have been studying this particular form of biometrics for the past eight years.

Pace University’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems has developed the Pace Keystroke Biometric System (PKBS), which can be used for both identifying and authenticating users via their typing rhythms and patterns through the monitoring and capturing of keyboard events.

The researchers say it has the capability to recognize with a “high degree of accuracy” the typing characteristics that are unique to each individual.

The PKBS consists of three components: the Keystroke Entry System (KES) that collects data over the Internet, the Keystroke Feature Extractor (KFE) that extracts a feature vector from the raw data collected via the KES with the purpose of characterizing the individual’s typing dynamics, and the Keystroke Pattern Classifier (KPC) that is used in the authentication process. A new research paper, titled A Keystroke Biometric System Test-Taker Setup and Data Collection focuses on “enhancements to the keystroke entry system to support a real-world application to verify the identity of students taking online tests.

“The PKBS, when developed further, could be particularly ideal for student online testing when embedded within a browser and customized per the institution utilizing the system,” the researchers write. “While the main concern is currently surrounding academic integrity during online testing, this sort of authentication could be used for the same reasons when training and orientation examinations are administered in a business setting. Or consequently, to monitor email transactions over a company server as a preventative measure for potential email misuse and/or scandal.”

Your capitalization reveals you, too.

In a related new study at Pace, titled A Stylometry System for Authenticating Students Taking Online Tests, researchers found stylometry biometrics to be a useful augmentation to the keystroke biometric for corroborating the identities of online test takers. A stylometry biometric system measures the frequency of text file features such as the ratio of the number of alphabetic characters to the total number of characters. The researchers captured keystroke and stylistic e-data from online test-takers with a modified feature extraction component of the keystroke application.

The Pace studies were primarily done by  masters-level student teams and doctoral students at Pace’s Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems, which for some years has offered course modules and conducted research in biometrics. The findings were presented at the School’s annual research day conference on Friday, May 6 in White Plains, NY.

The new research comes at a time when concern about cheating on tests administered in online classes is growing. As more college students elect Web-based courses, the number of cheating incidents is sure to rise, the researchers say.

Federal Requirement

The recent federal Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) requires institutions of higher learning to make greater access control efforts for the purposes of assuring that students of record are those actually accessing the systems and completing remotely administered exams, by adopting authentication technologies as they become robust and available.

The research teams at Pace included Vinnie Monaco, Edyta Zych, John Stewart, Tyrone Allman, Mino Lamrabat, and Mandar Manohar, who wrote the paper on keystroke biometrics; and Omar Canales, Vinnie Monaco, Thomas Murphy, Edyta Zych, John Stewart, Alex Castro, Ola Sotoye, Linda Torres, and Greg Truly, who wrote the paper on stylometry biometrics [John Stewart is working in this area for his Doctor of Professional Studies (DPS) dissertation; the others are masters-level students except for Vinnie Monaco who is an undergraduate]. The studies were done under the supervision of Professor Charles C. Tappert, Ph.D., the former IBM researcher who spearheaded the development of the handwriting recognizer in IBM’s ThinkPad, and investigated the military potential of wearable computers for Army Research Labs.

About the Seidenberg School

This year’s ninth Michael L. Gargano Annual Research Day conference was dedicated to the work of Dr. Frank Rosenblatt, the inventor of perceptrons. Inherent in The Seidenberg School’s activities and services to students, businesses, and the community is the belief that information technologies are tools for the empowerment of people. Established in 1983, Seidenberg is the youngest school within Pace University. Its mission is to prepare men and women for professional work, research, and lifelong participation in a new and dynamic information age. The school offers a student-oriented environment; small classes; committed teaching; research with professors; innovative programs, projects, and partnerships; and convenient multi-campus locations in New York City and Westchester County as well as online courses and programs.

About Pace University

For 105 years, Pace University has educated thinking professionals by providing high quality education for the professions on a firm base of liberal learning amid the advantages of the New York metropolitan area. A private university, Pace has campuses in New York City and Westchester County, New York, enrolling nearly 13,000 students in bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral programs in its Lubin School of Business, Dyson College of Arts and Sciences, College of Health Professions, School of Education, School of Law, and Seidenberg School of Computer Science and Information Systems. www.pace.edu

Media contacts: Bill Caldwell, 212-346-1597, wcaldwell@pace.edu or Charles Tappert, Ph.D., 914-773-3989, ctappert@pace.edu

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