Date: June 15, 2012
UVic Industry Partnerships Helps To Secure US Patent
The founders of Plurilock Security Solutions, a company created through the support of University of Victoria Industry Partnerships, have earned US patent approval for a new technology that can tell who is using a computer by the way they use the keyboard and move the mouse. The biometric profile it creates for users has the potential to revolutionize network security and has raised the interest of the defence sector and the Government of Canada.
UVic associate professor Dr. Issa Traore, who along with his former PhD student Dr. Ahmed Ahmed, spent the last decade bringing their technology solution to market with the support of UVic Industry Partnerships, explains what makes the solution unique: “Instead of a more traditional biometric system, like retinal or fingerprint recognition, that requires expensive hardware and is limited by users only being able to access the network from a specific computer, our system can be used by anyone from any location.”
The technology captures user behaviour and creates a profile that is unique, ensuring no other user is accessing the computer or the network. It tracks keyboard strokes and mouse movements, and uses the profile to constantly monitor the user, locking out any users who don’t meet the behavioural criteria at any point during the session. With ongoing testing of nearly 200 users, the system is now performing with a 98-per cent success rate.
“This kind of innovation is just the sort of success story we like to celebrate,” says UVic Industry Partnerships CEO Brent Sternig. “It takes a lot of support to work through the wrinkles of bringing research innovation to market. Our role is to support this kind of innovation every step of the way. This group has been successful at getting patents approved in the US and Canada and we are very proud of their work.”
Traore, an associate professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Coordinator of the Information Security and Object Technology Research Group, led the research that resulted in the innovative security protocol.
“Because this system allows for constant monitoring of the user, it is more robust than a system that only requires a single login interface,” Traore says. “If a user is called away from the computer and another user tries to access the system, it will immediately recognize that this is someone else and lock them out. It also provides a forensic complement that can identify any user who has accessed the system.”
The US-based Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency recently called for innovative technologies that can bypass the use of non-intuitive passwords which are difficult to remember and don’t always meet the high level of security required.
“Since my background has been in avionics and defence, I created something that is robust and can be used in very high security environments. Working under such a high standard has helped create a very secure and reliable system that provides more security than may be required in less sensitive environments. With the number and level of security breaches happening on the Internet these days, there is no such thing, in my opinion, as too much security.”
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