Mouse Dynamics Biometric Technology

Mouse Dynamics Biometric Technology

Ahmed Awad E. Ahmed (University of Victoria, Canada) and Issa Traore (University of Victoria, Canada)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-725-6.ch010
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Abstract

In this chapter the Authors introduce the concepts behind the mouse dynamics biometric technology, present a generic architecture of the detector used to collect and process mouse dynamics, and study the various factors used to build the user’s signature. The Authors will also provide an updated survey on the researches and industrial implementations related to the technology, and study possible applications in computer security.
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Introduction

Different types of biometrics are currently available in the market, and are widely used in various security applications. Biometrics can be classified into two categories, “physiological biometrics” and “behavioral biometrics”. Physiological biometrics identify the user based on physiological characteristics, such as fingerprints and eye retina/iris scanning, whereas behavioral biometrics depend on detecting the behavioral features of the user, such as signature, voice, and keystroke dynamics.

The utilization of biometrics, however, has so far been limited to identity verification in authentication and access control systems. Hence important security applications such as intrusion detection systems have been left out of this technology. We have identified two primary reasons for that. First, most biometric systems require special hardware device for biometrics data collection, which restricts their use to only networks segments that provide them, making the systems irrelevant for a significant number of remote users, who operate out of these network segments. Second, most biometric systems require an active involvement of the user who is asked to provide some data sample that can be used to verify his identity. This excludes the possibility of passive monitoring, which is essential for intrusion detection. There is also number of secondary obstacles to the use of biometrics for intrusion detection such as whether the technology allows dynamic monitoring, or real-time detection.

A popular biometric system, which escapes some of these limitations, is keystroke dynamics biometrics. Keystroke dynamics does not require special hardware device for data collection (a regular keyboard is enough), and under certain circumstances can be used for dynamic monitoring. The same applies for a newly introduced biometric based on mouse dynamics.

Mouse dynamics is a behavioral biometric which was introduced at the Information Security and Object Technology (ISOT) research lab, University of Victoria in 2003 (Ahmed & Traore, 2003). Mouse Dynamics can be described as the characteristics of the actions received from the mouse input device for a user, while interacting with a graphical user interface. Mouse actions include general mouse movement, drag and drop, point and click, and silence (i.e. no movement). The raw data collected for each mouse movement consists of the distance, time, and angle. The behavioral analysis process utilizes statistical approaches to generate a number of factors from the captured set of actions; these factors are used to construct what is called a Mouse Dynamics Signature (MDS), a unique set of values characterizing the user’s behavior measured over a period of time.

Some of the factors consist of calculating the average speed against the traveled distance, or calculating the average speed against the movement direction. Another set of factors can be calculated as a result of studying the histogram of collected measurements (individually or combined) such as the histogram of the types of actions or the durations of the silence periods.

Mouse and keystroke dynamics biometrics are two related technologies, which complement each other. While a mouse is very important for graphical user interface (GUI) –based applications, a keyboard is essential for command –line based applications.

One of its key strengths compared to traditional biometric technologies is that it allows dynamic and passive user monitoring. As such it can be used to track reliably and continuously legitimate and illegitimate users throughout computing sessions.

Mouse Dynamics biometric is appropriate for user authentication (with some limitations). It can be effectively used for dynamic authentication or identity confirmation in cases where the actions of an active user raise some suspicions. The technology is also suitable for continuous monitoring applications such as detecting masqueraders in intrusion detection, or establishing the identity of perpetrators in digital forensics analysis.

In this chapter we will introduce the concepts behind the mouse dynamics biometric technology, present a generic architecture of the detector used to collect and process mouse dynamics, and study the various factors used to build the user’s signature. We will also provide an updated survey on the researches and industrial implementations related to the technology, and study possible applications in computer security.

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