Researchers at Binghamton State University are experimenting with a new security technique for accessing medical records that would create an encryption key using patients' electrocardiograph readings, Computerworld reports.
The system would use electrocardiogram data collected during diagnosis and send it to a wearable device. "There have been so many mature encryption techniques available, but the problem is that those encryption techniques rely on some complicated arithmetic calculations and random key generations," said Zhanpeng Jin, a co-author of a paper about the technique. Jin told Computerworld those methods can't be "directly applied on the energy-hungry mobile and wearable devices."
Jin added that ECG encryption is more vulnerable to variations than some other biometric measures, so it could only be used for secondary authentication.
Biometric authentication methods are gaining interest as traditional passwords become less and less effective. A study released last May found 52% of consumers prefer biometrics and other authentication methods over traditional usernames and passwords. Of the respondents that expressed an opinion, 80% said they believe biometric authentication is more secure than traditional usernames and passwords.
Given the interest — and need for — more secure authentication methods, experts say businesses need to prepare for the day when the traditional password system is a thing of the past and move to adopt more secure password alternatives.
Google is already working on technology that would allow Android developers to replace passwords with biometrics.