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Researchers Propose Using Sound for Two-Factor Authentication

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Aug 18, 2015, 2:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Smartphone owners may soon be able to log into web sites using the background noise recorded by their handset. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland, propose a two-factor authentication method called Sound-Proof. When people try to log into a Sound-Proof protected web site, the browser and the nearby phone will both record a few seconds of ambient sound. If the sounds recorded by the browser and the phone match, the user will be granted access to the web site in question. Sound-Proof doesn't need to hear anything fancy; it works with simple background noise, such as air conditioning or traffic. The app can run on the handset in the background only when needed, and doesn't have to wake the phone in order to function. The idea is to encourage more people to use two-factor authentication when logging into web services, as it is generally much more secure than regular passwords. The researchers did not say if or when their idea might be used by consumers.

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