A Biometric Password That is Always with You

A Biometric Password That is Always with You

What could be a better way of securing data rather than a heartbeat? A scientific research team from the Binghamton University believe that heart’s electrical pattern may be used as an encryption key for electronic records.

Currently the complexity and cost of present encryption tools do not allow the full implementation of such data into telemedicine field and mobile healthcare systems.

“These systems are gradually replacing the traditional clinic-centered healthcare and there is a need for a unique secure solution to protect sensitive personal data with something simple, available and cost-effective” said Zhanpeng Jin, Assistant Professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering.

A group of researchers tested the encryption of patient data with use of electrocardiograph (ECG) as the key to lock and unlock the files.

“The heartbeat pattern reflected on the ECG is one of the most important and common physiological indicators collected and used to understand a patient’s health,” said Jin.

“While ECG signals are collected for clinical diagnosis and transmitted through networks to electronic health records, we strategically reused the ECG signals for the data encryption,” Jin added.

The identification scheme is a combination of previous work by Jin using a person’s unique brainprint instead of traditional passwords for access to computers and buildings combined with cyber-security work.

“This research will be very helpful and significant for next-generation secure, personalized health care,” Jin noted.

Since an ECG may change due to age, illness or injury, researchers are currently working out ways to incorporate those variables.

Through this strategy, security and privacy can be enhanced while minimum cost will be added, the researchers told the gathering at the IEEE Global Communications Conference in Washington.

Scott Wolf, Grace Century President and Director of Research, however, is among many who questions the usability of the potential new technology.

“Biometrics have long been the key, but this takes it to a new level. Unlike fingerprints, retinal scans, and voice recognition, I question whether your heartbeat is that unique to serve as a password?” Wolf commented.

Source: Gulf News