The future of authentication systems

Almost every organization in the world is dependent on some kind of information security system to protect their confidential data. Access to such secure data is usually controlled by an authentication system that allows only authorized user to gain access to it.

There are various types of authentication system that are in use today. The common ones include PIN for transacting at the ATM, alpha-numeric passwords for emails, NFC based access control cards and synchronous dynamic passwords using security tokens.

There are also biometric based authentication systems like fingerprint authentication, iris authentication, voice authentication and face recognition.

Every authentication system has its own advantages and disadvantages. As security solutions keep evolving there tends to be new solutions coming into the market. So what is the next big thing in authentication systems? The new entrant into this domain is brain-wave based authentication also known as passthought.

How does this work? The human brain keeps emitting small levels of electromagnetic waves for different activities of the body. Even thoughts generate these electro-magnetic waves and every thought has a unique pattern. By thinking of an object or color or anything else the brain generates a pattern that is captured by using special high sensitive electrodes and stored in a database. For authentication, when the user thinks of the same object the pattern generated by the brain is captured once again and compared using specific algorithms with the pattern stored in the database. If the patterns match, the user is authenticated.

This amazing technology can be put to various other uses like controlling the functioning of consumer electronics, changing the way how people interact with computers, enabling physically challenged people to communicate or control electro-mechanical objects and a lot more.

While all this may sound like something out of a science fiction movie it may not be long before we start seeing them become commercially available.


Shanmuga Prabu is a software engineer at Compassites. He has experience in developing e-commerce applications in which he has spent the last 5 years. Prior to Compassites, he has worked with Wifin Technologies at Chennai where he handled mobile application development and e-commerce projects. Shan also enjoys travelling and photography.

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