n South African Computer Journal - User authentication based on continuous touch biometrics : research article

Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1015-7999
  • E-ISSN: 2313-7835



Mobile devices such as smartphones have until now been protected by traditional authentication methods, including passwords or pattern locks. These authentication mechanisms are difficult to remember and are often disabled, leaving the device vulnerable if stolen. This paper investigates the possibility of unobtrusive, continuous authentication for smartphones based on biometric data collected using a touchscreen. The possibility of authenticating users on a smartphone was evaluated by conducting an experiment simulating real-world touch interaction. Touch data was collected from 30 participants during normal phone use. The touch features were analysed in terms of the information provided for authentication. It was found that features such as finger pressure, location of touch interaction and shape of the finger were important discriminators for authentication. The touch data was also analysed using two classification algorithms to measure the authentication accuracy. The results show that touch data is sufficiently distinct between users to be used in authentication without disrupting normal touch interaction. It is also shown that the raw touch data was more effective in authentication than the aggregated gesture data.

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