Behavioral Biometrics: Explaining in Detail
This article describes the technologies behind the use of behavioral biometrics and outlines the benefits of using this type of biometrics. It also clarifies the difference between this and another common type of security product — physical biometrics. What areas need the introduction of this technology? Can behavioral biometrics improve the lives of not only organizations but also users? What is the future of biometrics, and how does it relate to the Internet of Things? Find out from the article below.
Table of Contents
- What Is Behavioral Biometrics? Definition & Meaning
- What Is the Difference Between Physiological and Behavioral Biometrics?
- Why Do We Need Behavioral Biometrics?
- Types of Behavioral Biometrics
- Body Movements
- Voice Inputs
- Device-Based Gestures
- Key Concepts & New Technologies
- Human Behavioral Patterns
- Smart Sensors
- Machine Learning/Deep Learning
- What Are These Identifying and Measurable Patterns?
- Behavioral Biometrics Examples & Use Cases
- Stolen Credentials
- Password/Account Sharing
- User Substitution
- Remote Access Trojans
- Insider Threats
- USB/Rubber Ducky Attacks
- Phishing Attacks
- Uncertain Attribution
- User Carelessness
- Identity Fraud
- License Mismanagement
- Behavioral Biometrics Benefits
- Forecast for the Future of Behavioral Biometrics
- Adoption Will Continue to Increase
- Generalized Anomaly Detection Is Next
- Cybersecurity Will Become Proactive
- What Is the Most Commonly Used Type of Behavioral Biometrics?
- How Is Behavioral Biometrics Used in Banking?
- Is There a Difference Between Behavioral Biometrics and Behavioral Analytics?
- How Is Behavioral Biometrics Used for eHealth and Well-being?
What Is Behavioral Biometrics? Definition & Meaning
Any human activity can be measured and described. It is possible to identify patterns of behavior, as well as analyze them. Behavioral biometrics is exploring these patterns, among other things. Based on the studied data, it is possible to draw up a unique portrait that can be useful in areas such as security, business, and sales. The applications for behavioral biometrics verification are almost limitless. It is necessary to distinguish between physical and behavioral biometrics. The latter pays attention to data such as mouse use characteristics, voice, keystroke dynamics, etc.
What Is the Difference Between Physiological and Behavioral Biometrics?
Physical biometrics refers to human characteristics such as fingerprints or iris patterns. These are innate indicators. Behavioral biometrics is about how a person acts.
This can be the way of movement or typing a text message on your device. Such data can be collected not only once but throughout the entire analyzed period, including in real-time.
Why Do We Need Behavioral Biometrics?
Along with the development of science and technology, the methods of committing illegal actions are also being improved. Sometimes a strong password is not enough to secure data. Cybercriminals can also gain access to a variety of personal information such as birth dates, phone numbers, and emails. Such data makes it possible to log in or create an account for fraudulent purposes. It is increasingly important for different organizations and the government to distinguish between the user and the cybercriminal. The further it goes, the more it becomes clear that conventional protections such as one-time passwords or device IDs are no longer sufficient. This means that fraud prevention technology must keep pace with the times for the safety and convenience of users.
Behavioral biometrics helps determine whether a user is really who they say they are and distinguish human behavior online from automated cyberattacks. Machine learning plays a key role in behavioral biometrics.
Analysis of behavior patterns includes how the user usually moves the mouse or types, how they hold the phone, and how they press on the touchscreen. These parameters help to spot the imposter due to the uniqueness of such characteristics. The analysis can go non-stop in the background in a passive mode.
Types of Behavioral Biometrics
Behavioral biometrics is a relatively new field of research and technology implementation in everyday life. At the moment, there are three main directions in the development of behavioral biometrics: kinesthetics, vocal patterns, and device-based gestures.
Body data analysis draws attention to:
When a person is standing or sitting, weight distribution data can be collected. Gait recognition emphasizes a unique way for a person to make movements that add up to a certain style. Posture, stride length, and even movement speed are taken into account. The last item on the list includes an analysis of the specific handling of a mobile device: how the person holds it, and so on.
Developments in the field of voice recognition have been going on for a long time. Some writers have even used this topic in their fictional writing. Behavioral biometrics identifies a vocal pattern based on sound variations that are most common in a person's speech.
The way a person uses their device also leaves a kind of imprint. The following areas for data analysis can be identified:
- Keystroke dynamics;
- Mobile interactions;
- Cursor movement.
Typing pattern is pretty unique, and this feature was used back in the 20th century to identify telegraph operators. Nowadays, this uniqueness allows you to track keystroke dynamics by characteristics such as the speed of typing and the duration of keystrokes. It's not just the rhythm that matters. Even whether the person has a habit of correcting mistakes made in the text can become important data for identification.
Mobile interactions include everything you can do with a touchscreen: swiping, tapping, applying pressure, typing, or pinching to zoom. When analyzing the use of the cursor, speed, clicks, paths, and direction changes are taken into account.
Key Concepts & New Technologies
Let's take a closer look at the underside of behavioral biometrics and what technologies are associated with it.
Human Behavioral Patterns
Any of the holistic patterns of behavior can be decomposed into «semi-behaviors.» Not every human eye can distinguish them, but modern software picks them up to create a profile.
Movement patterns are made up of traits based on your unique characteristics. It may seem that you are no different from any other person in the crowd, but you are. Carpal tunnel syndrome, certain social habits, a unique way of typing words in a language that is not native to you, in combination, add up to a recognizable interaction with your electronic device.
Nowadays, sensors are small and also highly efficient. They are found in every modern personal electronics product, from mobile devices and wearables to home appliances. At the same time, any of these sensors, for example, located in your smartphone, can be configured to collect data in a passive fashion. An accelerometer and a gyroscope are suitable for these purposes, and they are found in almost every mobile device. Behavioral biometrics focuses not so much on the outcome of your actions but rather on the way you perform those actions. Analysis of the received data can help in authentication, as well as in fraud protection.
Machine Learning/Deep Learning
Artificial intelligence plays an invaluable role in behavioral biometrics. It can already compete with human perception and even surpass it. This is possible thanks to the development of algorithms in software that collects and analyzes data.
What Are These Identifying and Measurable Patterns?
Device-focused behavioral signals. These signals focus on physical interaction: mouse usage, typing, the way you handle the device, gait, velocity, and device characteristics.
Contextual signals. What geo-location or WiFi network is normal for you shows an anomaly when suddenly changing.
Service-related behavioral signals. Any interactions with applications can serve as the basis for analysis. The time of day when the user usually uses the app is unique, what function they use most often, and so on.
Behavioral Biometrics Examples & Use Cases
Behavioral biometrics is currently used in payments, internet banking, e-commerce, and high-security authentication markets. Over time, more and more companies will turn to the use of such biometrics.
Login credentials can be stolen or compromised regardless of the countermeasures taken. Behavioral biometrics can help validate the granted access to ensure system security.
In cases of dissemination of information about accounts, there is a certain risk. The described technologies can distinguish between users and determine when an authentication block is needed.
There are frequent cases of substitution of one person for another, especially in areas that use outsourcing. To avoid the associated risks, especially in the case of inconsistent substitution, behavioral biometrics determine whether a user is who they claim to be.
Remote Access Trojans
At unauthorized attempts to access a system, behavioral biometrics will be able to distinguish such subjects from authorized ones by their biometric profiles. This is possible regardless of whether remote access is used or not.
The emergence of an internal threat is possible when the access of some users to the system leads to the opening of the door for access by other users, even if it happened unintentionally. Behavioral biometrics allows you to determine in real-time that the right person is using the system.
USB/Rubber Ducky Attacks
This type of attack is quite common and is based on simulating the use of a keyboard or mouse, while this one is entered automatically. Smart algorithms can detect this type of threat and block further input, too.
While technology has yet to keep people from clicking on suspicious links, behavioral biometrics knows how to deal with the consequences. It recognizes cybercriminals who have already obtained the data they need to log in.
If the attackers were assisted in carrying out the attack by internal participants, then biometrics will help identify them by their behavioral profile and identify those involved within the organization.
The human factor assumes that malicious intent is not always necessary for unwanted access. Sometimes, it's enough to be distracted and forget to log out. If the workstation is attacked in this case, behavioral biometrics will quickly take the necessary action if an unauthorized user is detected.
In the event of theft of user credentials, organizations that work with the end-user need to suppress attempts to access data or services by criminals. A biometric behavioral profile will also help with this.
Sharing of licenses becomes a threat when used illegally. This is a common practice, so behavioral biometrics should be used to eliminate the associated risks. It will make sure that only named persons are using licensed services or products.
Behavioral Biometrics Benefits
Many organizations in a wide variety of fields can benefit from the use of behavioral biometrics. Along with specific benefits, there are undeniable advantages:
- Flexibility — The set of behavioral data that can be analyzed is almost limitless, and each project’s data set can be customized to suit their needs;
- Convenience — Behavioral biometrics does its job without distracting the user from their business;
- Efficiency — Behavioral biometrics can be applied in real-time and retrospectively, providing security for both authentication and threat recognition;
- Security — Behavioral characteristics are nearly impossible to replicate or discern. Simultaneous analysis of several characteristics also increases the degree of safety.
Forecast for the Future of Behavioral Biometrics
Like any achievement in science and technology, behavioral biometrics has broad horizons for development. It is difficult to predict what heights this sphere will reach, especially given the actual availability of almost fantastic opportunities.
Adoption Will Continue to Increase
Initially, technological solutions were dedicated to mobile devices. At the same time, as they continue to develop in this area, they will also expand into other security systems. Organizations of all types will appreciate the security-enhancing benefits of behavioral biometrics. This will ultimately improve the experience of both users and organizations.
Generalized Anomaly Detection Is Next
The number of devices connected to the Internet of Things is growing every year. At the same time, the number of vulnerabilities that can affect both the ordinary population and significant military facilities is also growing.
In the future, IoT devices will be protected by anomaly detection technologies that will learn a lot from behavioral biometrics.
Cybersecurity Will Become Proactive
Along with the development of machine learning and AI, their capabilities will also grow in areas such as learning and decision-making about actions in real-time. In the future, technologies will not only be able to adapt but will also predict user errors based on an analysis of their previous behavior. This will help to correct user behavior, as well as to allocate system resources, taking into account the history of use.
Advanced technologies have become part of our life. The more industries rely on digitalization, the easier it becomes to use them — and the more sophisticated the ways that digitalization can be misused become. Behavioral biometrics allows you to stay ahead of the curve in security and improve the experience of both users and organizations:
- Advanced behavioral biometrics technologies allow to complement and improve security based on physical biometrics;
- Behavioral biometrics is based on the analysis of unique parameters such as body movements, voice sound, and device-based gestures;
- This technology uses device sensors and AI;
- Security enhancements include cases of data theft, user spoofing, unauthorized access within an organization, human error, and many other potential threats;
- Behavioral biometrics can bring significant benefits to organizations and users, as well as develop in new directions, including the security of the Internet of Things.
What Is the Most Commonly Used Type of Behavioral Biometrics?
The most widely used ones are the analysis of the signature dynamics, the unique pattern of your voice, keystroke dynamics, gait, and gesture.
How Is Behavioral Biometrics Used in Banking?
Behavioral biometrics ensures the safety of users when working with mobile banking applications. It takes into account the unique way each user interacts with their device. The list of characteristics includes interaction through keystrokes, swipe patterns, scroll speed, and so on.
Is There a Difference Between Behavioral Biometrics and Behavioral Analytics?
Physical biometrics involves fingerprint, iris, palm veins, face and voice identification. All of these characteristics are innate and usually do not change over time. Behavioral biometrics can track a person's activity in real-time and is based on how the person acts.
How Is Behavioral Biometrics Used for eHealth and Well-being?
Some diagnoses can only be made based on data on how a person behaves. For example, you can monitor how the patient is speaking, typing, talking, or engaging in other daily activities. When using behavioral biometrics, you can ask a person to perform an action and compare it with previous data. Based on the analysis of the data obtained, it is possible to draw up appropriate conclusions about the state of health.
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