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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882

Volume 4, Issue 4, April 2015

A Survey of User Authentication using Keystroke Dynamics


Rosy Vinayak1, Komal Arora2
Computer Science and Engineering, Lovely Professional University Jalandhar, India
2
Computer Science and Engineering, Lovely Professional University Jalandhar, India
1

ABSTRACT
In todays scenario there is a major threat to misuse the
personal as well as official data. Data which is easily
accessible from the storage device by an
unauthenticated user is a major concern and needs to be
eradicated. Increase in number of software and devices
for hacking and cracking causes gains in unauthorized
access which results in exploitation of important data.
Methods like user ID and password which is mostly
used as security is now not reliable and secure due to
rapidly increase in hackers and crackers. Also this
method no longer provides consistent safety measures
because passwords are prone to shoulder surfing and
passwords can also be hacked. To gain secure and
efficient access either user must change his password
frequently or the user should use strong password
(combination of alphabets, numeric and special
symbols). Users do not respect these conditions as they
feel them quite strict and difficult to be applied. The
solution to above said problems is keystroke dynamics.
Keystroke Dynamics is a behavioral biometric approach
to enhance the computer access rights. It verifies the
individual by its keystroke typing pattern. Keystroke
biometric is based on the assumption that the typing
pattern of each user is unique. The objective of this
review paper is to summarize the well-known
approaches used in keystroke dynamics.
Keywords: Authentication, Keystroke Dynamics, Dwell
time, Flight time.

I.

INTRODUCTION

What is User Authentication?


Dependency on computer systems and networks has
undergone a sea change. Over the years this dependency
has increased tremendously, as today computers have
invaded every field e.g. education, business, hospitality
etc. Essential information such as criminal and medical
records, personal letters and bills are stored on
computer devices. The main issue is the security of
these systems and to ensure security there is need of
user which means validating the facts which are given
by a particular user. To ensure security there is need of
user authentication. Authentication is the method to
determine that the person really is, in fact what it claims
to be.
Approaches of User Authentication

1. Object Based: In this approach to identify the


user, presentation of a smart card or some key is
required. Strong user identification techniques like
combination of password with the tokens are
needed to use them. It becomes more cumbersome
if the users forget their details such as PIN
numbers or make errors and if the card gets locked
after some number of incorrect attempts.
2. Knowledge Based: To access the information
passwords are the most commonly used tools but
the flaw is that generally the individual chooses
very easy passwords that can be easily guessed or
hacked by computer literate professionals, so even
a hacker can appear a legitimate user.
3.
Biometric Based: In this kind of a system, the
user has to give a personal physical characteristic
like fingerprints. This is the most accurate and
convenient method. The reason is because
biometrics is directly linked and dependent on the
user while the password or token can be used by
some other person. This method is almost flawless
as these have no loopholes such as forgetting the
password or carrying the card.
What is Biometrics?
Traditionally, authentication measures rested upon tools
such as passwords and PINs. The main flaw with these
methods is that the identification of a person is not
done, but the ability to access the information requested
is evaluated. But transition is taking place in corporate
sector, education sector, defence sector etc where
biometric system has been introduced. It is comparison
of information that user gives during login with a
database of information that was previously recorded. It
identifies the persons recorded informational attributes
so it doesnt depend on the persons previous
knowledge. Biometric authentication relies on physical
characteristics of the user. There are two distinct
categories segregating the methodology of this
authentication.
Two categories are: Physiological biometrics and
Behavioral biometrics.
Physiological Biometrics: It depicts those features
that describe who the user is depending on the
physical attributes e.g. fingerprints, Iris and retina
scanning. For this additional hardware required.
Behavioral Biometrics: It is based on typing
pattern, Voice recognition and Signature style.

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 4, April 2015

Behavioral characteristics can be collected without


the requirement of any extra hardware. This study
will focus on Behavioral biometric technique i.e.
Keystroke Dynamics.

Flight time
Dwell time
A

General Description of Biometrics Technologies.


1 Fingerprints: Fingerprint systems perform the
analysis of the patterns found on fingertips. User
identification is achieved by Automated Fingerprint
Identification Systems (AFIS) and fingerprint
recognition systems.
2 Hand Geometry: It evaluates unique hand
characteristics such like length of the finger, its
thickness and surface area. Its a high cost but highly
accurate method. It is used as an entry method for
secure areas of airports, hospitals and government
agencies.
3 Face Recognition: Face recognition analyses unique
facial characteristics of the eyes, nose, lips, etc. A
digital motion detection camera is essential to capture
an image of the face. It is used for public applications
such as ATMs or license verification.
4 Voice recognition These systems capture unique
voice features such as pitch, tone and frequency to
authenticate a user. It is used in telephony applications
which allow users to log into financial and other
systems.
5 Retina scanning It is a method for identification of
the unique blood vessel pattern at the back portion of
the eye by directing low-intensity infrared light through
the pupil. Retinal scanning can be quite accurate. It is
required that user should focus on a particular point.
6 Iris scanning Iris scanning analyzes the pattern of
flecks on the iris, which is on the surface of the eye. It is
also expensive method.
7 Hand Signature: Signature verification analyzes the
way a user signs the name. Signing features such as
speed, velocity, and pressure are considered.
8 Keystroke Dynamics This method analyzes the way
a user types on a terminal, by monitoring the keyboard
input. Since the input device is the existing Keyboard,
this approach is not expensive.
Overview of Keystroke Dynamics
This method focuses on the typing pattern of a user at a
terminal and then evaluating the input identifying
habitual typing rhythm pattern.
Keystroke features are usually obtained using the timing
particulars of the key down or key hold or events.
It is known by different names such as typing
biometrics and typing rhythms. The main advantage of
using keystroke dynamics is that it does not require any
extra hardware. Two basic features used for keystroke
dynamics are Key Hold time and Inter Key time.

Fig 2: Keystroke Features (Dwell time and Flight time)

Dwell time is the duration that a key is held


down.
Flight time is the duration between pressing a
key and releasing the next key
Dwell Time (DT): Dwell time also known as
key hold time refers how long a key was held
pressing down or the amount of time between
pressing and releasing a single key
Flight Time (FT): Flight time also known as
latency time, inter key time or interval time. It
refers to the amount of time between pressing
and releasing two successive keys. It involves
key event (press or release) from two keys,
which could be similar or different characters
When typing a text, Flight time and dwell time are
unique for each user, and is independent of overall
typing speed.
Advantages of Keystroke Dynamics
The keystroke dynamics can be used by any
person who knows how to use a keyboard
Every individual type in a unique manner.
Therefore typing pattern of two users cannot be
same. Thus it provides more cyber security
Compared to written signatures typing pattern
cannot be reproduced. Most security systems
allow limited number of incorrect attempts.
After few incorrect attempts they block the
account.
Compared to physiological biometric systems
such as fingerprint, Iris detection Keystroke
dynamics does not require any extra hardware.
Thus implementation and deployment cost is
low.
As long as user interacts with the computer
system, keystroke pattern can be constantly
monitored.
Application of keystroke dynamics
1 Keystroke dynamics provides an additional layer of
security to traditional password based system and
provide authentication.
2 It is used as a form of surveillance. There exist some
software systems which capture user keystroke
information while typing without even awareness of the
user. This information is further used to analyze that
whether the created accounts are shared or are used by
different people from genuine user.

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 4, April 2015

3 This technique can be used in online transactions in


banking sector
Techniques for Keystroke Dynamics
Statistical method involves the computation of
the mean and standard deviation of the features
in the template.
An Artificial Neural Network (ANN) is an
information processing approach which is
inspired by the way the brain process
information e.g. Back propagation method.
Pattern recognition contains simple machine
learning algorithms such as the nearest
neighbour algorithms and clustering, data
mining, Bayes classifier, support vector
machine (SVM) and graph theory
Search Heuristics algorithms such as Particle
Swarm Optimization, Ant Colony optimization
and Genetic Algorithms.

II.

REVIEW OF EXISTING
LITERATURE

From the time the concept of Keystroke Dynamics was


introduced, much advancement in the field has taken
place. Several techniques came into existence since
then. They are described below in details with their
strengths and limitations as follows:
N. Chourasia (NANDINI CHOURASIA, 2014) has
introduced an additional layer of security for the
authentication of the user, Keystroke Dynamics. The
security can be implemented in android phones or any
other smart phones through which internet is accessible
as well as online transactions can be performed. Data
set was collected to measure the performance and
evaluation procedure was developed. A mathematical
model was presented before implementation
Hussain et al. (A. K. Hussain and M. M. Alnabhan,
2014) in his study presented an advanced keystroke
authentication model improving users validation
strength. For each authorized user a keystroke structure
had been defined that was used in the login attempts.
The keystroke structure involved two components,
firstly the deviation in typing time of user Secondly a
unique user secret code. This system solved the problem
of large deviations in keystroke dynamics and improved
keystroke authentication level was provided. A strong
authentication level had been achieved and participating
users accepted this system model.
Senathipathi et al. (K. Senathipathi, Krishnan Batri,
2014) A comparative analysis of Particle Swarm
Optimization and Genetic algorithm has been shown by
the author with respect to keystroke dynamics. Dwell
time, Flight time, Digraph, Bigraph and Virtual Key
Force are features which have been used by the author.
Genetic algorithm based wrapper approach is proposed
for application in keystroke dynamics based

authentication as stated by the author. The author used


one class SVM as base classifier and four diversity
through the uniqueness of each chromosome rendering
post processing unnecessary. According to PSO method
emotional states are utilized as a biometric with the
keystroke dynamics directing the emotions experienced
by the user while typing the text using keyboard. A new
and improved version called PSO method has been
observed compared to GA method.
The author Maheswari et al. (T.Maheswari and S.
Anitha, 2014) has introduced a novel approach for
authentication that was based on biometric
characteristics i.e. Keystrokes of the password entry.
The author has considered three phases namely,
fingerprint, login credential based on username and
password and keystroke dynamics. Two stages were
also considered that are Training stage and testing stage.
Training stage was implemented during enrolment and
testing during verification period. The results of
fingerprint and keystroke
Rudrapal et al. (D. Rudrapal, S. Das, and S.
Debbarma, 2014) has combined different matrices and
calculation was performed to find keystroke latency as
measure of disorder. Authentication process has been
enhanced by statistical analysis on the proposed
matrices. Proposed method was categorized into sub
phases such as keystroke features were captured,
measure of disorder was calculated, standard deviation
was computed and finally generation of profile. For
capturing keystroke data a registration form was created
based on key held and release timings. The author
concluded that disorder measure on keystroke duration
varies from person to person. The result of proposed
method showed FRR of 8% and FAR of 2%, which
enhanced the existing authentication result using
keystroke dynamics
Ahmed et al. (A. A. Ahmed and I. Traore, 2014)
presented a new approach for the free text analysis of
keystrokes that combined monograph and digraph
analysis. A neural network had been used to predict
missing digraphs based on the relation between the
monitored keystrokes. The heterogeneous experiment
involved 53 users, the follow-up experiment in a
homogeneous environment considered only 17
volunteers. The results obtained from this research were
promising with reduced error rates.
Monaco et al. (J. V. Monaco, N. Bakelman, S.-H. Cha,
and C. C. Tappert, 2014) evaluated and developed a
new classification algorithm with reduced error rate.
The description was given about the recent
developments and evaluation of a keystroke dynamics
for continuous computer-user authentication. The Java
applet was used to capture keystroke data by recording
the key press and release times in a millisecond format.
The average and standard deviation of dwell and flight
time has been used for feature extraction. The vector
difference authentication model transformed a multi-

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 4, April 2015

class problem into a two-class problem and model was


used for the classification procedure. The performance
was characterised by Receiver Operating Characteristics
curves.
Singh et al. (K. Singh, Harjeet Kaur, 2013) has
presented the study of keystroke dynamics to identify
individuals based on their typing rhythm behavior with
the help of Fuzzy Rule Based system. Inter stroke gap
existing between consecutive characters of the user
identification is being used in this approach. Several
factors are there which are analyzed for the
identification of the impostor and legitimate user under
this system. With the introduction of the rule based
system the number of the attempts of the users can be
restricted resulting in better biometric as there are fixed
number of attempts. A major part in the field of
keystroke biometrics is played by the fuzzy rule to
increase the accuracy. The identification of the imposter
gets easier. The introduction of neighbour key pattern
eases the identification of the imposter that made the
system more reliable. But various challenges being
presented by the author need to be overcome to make it
more effective biometric. Thus it has an enormous
potential to grow in the field of cyber security. As far as
future work is concerned it includes developing Fuzzy
rule based system more accurate in performance so that
no legitimate user can be considered as imposters.
Bajaj et al. (S. Bajaj and S. Kaur, 2013) emphasized on
the importance of keystroke dynamics for user
authentication. The typing rhythm of a user stored in the
database was compared with the login input for
authentication. The author described keystroke
Dynamics as a two factor biometric security. Firstly, for
a successful login password should be known and
secondly, typing rhythm should match. The method
involved calculation of key the pressing time, dwell
time and total time of password. Laptop keyboard was
used for the analysis of the results.
The author Kaur et al. (M. Kaur and R. S. Virk, 2013)
has used perceptron function including Feed forward
propagation learning algorithm to train user typing
pattern by keystroke dynamics and then testing was
applied. This approach provided more security through
the use of neural network. No extra hardware was
required in this study like other biometric systems.
Rybnik et al. (M. Rybnik, M. Tabedzki, M. Adamski,
and K. Saeed, 2013) has used non-fixed text of various
sizes for efficient user authentication with keystroke
dynamics. The approach had been tested on a small
sample of users, and data was collected using web based
application over Internet. Nine individuals were
participated from whom keystrokes samples were
collected which corresponds to the use conditions of a
computer system in a home or small business. Each
individual typed a long text twice in the five sessions of
more than 250 characters, ten samples for each person
was collected in this way. The author stated that

keystroke dynamics is effective biometrics approach for


authentication of users that is achieved by using only
simple classifier and few keystroke features.
Hassan et al. (S. I. Hassan, M. M. Selim, and H. Hala,
2013) implemented a keystroke biometric system that
solved the problem of variations in samples and
threshold that is adaptive in nature was considered. The
proposed system was evaluated using CMU dataset and
for this study a new dataset have also been created .Four
Distance based algorithms were implemented. Standard
deviation of the training samples was also considered
therefore manhattan including standard deviation has
given accurate results.
Schclar et al. (A. Schclar, L. Rokach, A. Abramson,
and Y. Elovici, 2012) has provided novelty in the field
of authentication of users for login. It was based on two
approaches. The first approach is called Cluster
representative which used a unique user as a
representative from each cluster. The second approach
called Inner Cluster representative which selects that
user as a representative whose biometric profiles were
the most similar to that of examined user.
Singh et al. P. Inder Singh and G. S. Mitra Thakur,
2012) proposed security system which will analyze user
typing behavior and discriminate between authentic and
non authentic users. This approach provides high level
of security as well as it is cost effective because no
extra hardware is required. Two features such as key
hold time and key interchange time were considered.
Samples from both authentic as well as non authentic
user were recorded then neural network was trained on
those samples. Finally user will be authenticated on the
basis of his typing pattern
Banerjee et al. (S. P. Banerjee and D. L. Woodard,
2012) discussed a basic background of the
psychological basis behind the use of keystroke
dynamics. The data acquisition methods, approaches
and the performance of the methods used by researchers
on standard computer keyboards were also discussed. It
has been found that the use and acceptance of this
approach could be increased by development of
standardized databases, establishment of protocols for
evaluating methods, and resolution of privacy issues.
An extensive survey of research that was conducted in
the field of keystroke dynamics over the past three
decades was discussed in this study
Sluganovi et al (I. Sluganovi, A. Karlovi, P. Bosilj, M.
are, and S. Horvat, 2012) focused on building a system
that would provide an additional authentication layer
besides the standard password protection and
successfully store the typing dynamics of various users
passwords .The artificial neural network output was
used to reach to the decision about the users identity
The artificial neural network had been trained on
samples of genuine user as well as impostor samples in
order to learn how to distinguish between a genuine
user and an intruder. For each user-password pair a

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 4, April 2015

separate neural network was constructed .An


application for this purpose was implemented in C# for
data collection purpose and live testing of the trained
network, a MATLAB application was also developed to
train the neural network and gather network
performance data.
Syed et al. (Z. Syed, S. Banerjee, Q. Cheng, and B.
Cukic, 2011) presented as study of habitual pattern of
users to new passwords. He stated that when entering a
simple password the variation between successive trials
did not exhibit much difference. There was no
significant habituation improvement in total password
typing time in case of simple passwords. He also stated
that in case of complex passwords there was significant
variance in habitual pattern as well as total keystroke
timings.
Karnan et al. (M. Karnan, M. Akila, and N. Krishnaraj,
2011) discussed various feature extraction methods and
classification methods related to keystroke dynamics.
There was a clear explanation of statistical methods,
pattern recognition algorithms and neural networks that
can be used as approaches for classification. Short
sample texts were considered for the analysis purpose
Kolakowska (A. Kolakowska, 2011) compared the
performance of Relative method, absolute method and
method based on feature distribution parameters for
user authentication. For training data collection purpose
a web application was created. File was used to store
the details of keystroke features like key hold time and
key release time. The experiments were done on fixed
text as well as on random text that comprised two data
sets. Relative and absolute methods were altered by
amalgamating the feature vectors that represented the
key timings comprising different values. With this
modification quality of the methods were improved
compared to previous methods.
Nauman et al. (M. Nauman, T. Ali, and A. Rauf, 2011)
proposed a protocol for analysis of keystroke patterns
which allowed web based applications to use the
concept of keystroke analysis. With this method
additional layer of security has been added to an
existing password based approach. The protocol was
implemented on android Operating system. This study
has four main contributions. First user authentication
that relied on keystroke dynamics was extended to web
applications keeping the target mobile devices, 2.
Second an infrastructure has been designed to validate
keystroke patterns from users. Third privacy protection
against profiling attacks was enabled and lastly an
implementation of the system has been presented using
the Android operating system for smart phones
Nguyen et al. (T. T. Nguyen, T. H. Le, and B. H. Le,
2010) analyze sound signals being created when some
text is typed on keyboard. An indirect method has been
proposed to detect key hold time, key release timings
and pressure that key generates. The keystroke
dynamics bio matrix is the combination of both typing

name and typing force. In order to authenticate user by


Fast Artificial Neural Network (FANN) reliably
conversion to Independent Component Analysis has
been done. This method is feasible and reliable as
shown by experimental results.
Teh et al. (P. S. Teh, A. B. J. Teoh, C. Tee, and T. S.
Ong, 2010) proposed an approach to give strength to
password authentication system. It incorporated
numerous keystroke dynamic information. To combine
keystroke dynamics information a two-layer
amalgamated structure was proposed. For feature
matching two methods named Gaussian probability
density function and Direction similarity measure were
proposed and six fusion rules were employed. An
approach, retraining component had been formulated
which determined the probability of change in typing
pattern of user. This approach recalculated or adjusted
the sample of a user and its most common sample was
reflected. In this study an alternative authorization
mechanism was also introduced that tackled the issue
when authenticated user was not able to type in his
usual speed due to some hand injury. The system
obtained very good results.
III.SUMMARY
User authentication is a major problem in gaining the
access rights for computer resources. Keystroke
dynamics is a behavioral biometric approach to enhance
the computer access rights. It verifies the individual by
its keystroke typing pattern. Keystroke biometric is
based on the assumption that the typing pattern of each
user is unique. Different methods such as neural
network, pattern recognition algorithms, data mining
techniques can be applied to analyze the keystroke
patterns. Keystroke biometrics is more efficient to
authenticate the user and provide more security.
IV.CONCLUSION
In this study the concept and types of Biometrics was
reviewed .It has been found from the existing literature
that Keystroke Dynamics is a two factor biometric
security. For a successful login into the system, firstly
password should be known and secondly, typing pattern
should match
Some of the approaches taken by the researchers to
acquire data from users and features that can be
extracted from the data are summarized as follows:
S.
No

Appro
ach
taken

Text
Entry

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Types or
categories of
approach
considered
Static text or
Structured text
and Dynamic
text or free text

Description

Static analysis involves


analysis of typing pattern
of a user on some fixed
text at certain point in the
system e.g during login

382

International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
Volume 4, Issue 4, April 2015

Featur
es

Error
Metric
s

classifi
cation
algorit
hm

Dwell time &


Flight time

False
Accept
Rate&
False
Reject Rte

Statisti
cal
Algori
thm
Neural
Netwo
rk
Pattern
Recog
nition
algorit
hm

when user types the user


id and password.
Dynamic
analysis
involves continuous or
periodic monitoring of
keystroke behavior i.e
during the entire session.
Dwell time refers to how
long a key was held
pressing down or the
amount of time between
pressing and releasing a
single key.
Flight time also called as
latency time; inter key
time or interval time. It
refers to the amount of
time between pressing and
releasing two successive
keys.
FAR is the percentage of
intruders or impostors that
are allowed as genuine
users. It is defined as
FAR = Number of false
matches/
Total number of impostor
match attempts
FRR is the number of
genuine users rejected
from using the system. It
is defined as
FRR = Number of false
rejections / Total number
of genuine match attempts
Statistical
method
involves the computation
of the mean and standard
deviation of the features
in the template.
Neural Network is an
information
processing
model that works in the
same way as the brain
processes
information.
Neural
network
can
control more parameters.
Pattern
recognition
contains simple machine
learning algorithms such
as the nearest neighbor
algorithms and clustering,
data
mining,
Bayes
classifier, support vector
machine (SVM) and
graph theory

Table 1: Approaches to acquire data and feature


extraction

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

I feel great pleasure in acknowledging my deepest


gratitude to my revered guide and mentor, Er. Komal
Arora, Assistant Professor, Computer Science and
Engineering Lovely Professional University Punjab. I
would sincerely thank Mr Dalwinder Singh, HOD,
Computer Science and Engineering Department whose
excellent leadership and administration provided
required stuff and nice working condition to carry this
study.

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International Journal of Scientific Research Engineering & Technology (IJSRET), ISSN 2278 0882
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