A new encryption technique has been developed to ensure that if your mobile or smart phone is stolen the data it holds will remain secure.
Developed by Mike Reiter, professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Fabian Monrose of Johns Hopkins University and researchers at Bell Labs, the system uses the patterns of the mobile phone owner's speech to generate an individual encryption key that is effectively as individual as a fingerprint.
"This isn't taking the wave form of the voice and turning it into a key," explained Mike Reiter. "Rather it uses features of the voice to identify key points and builds a key around this, like finding identification points on a fingerprint."
Once completed the pattern generates a key that can be used to encrypt phone numbers and personal data stored on the phone. Testing was done with a Hewlett Packard iPaq and the team estimates that the new generation of smart phones will be able to handle the processor load involved.
"The biggest problem is changes to the voice," said Fabian Monrose. "If you have a cold or are intoxicated the patterns in the voice change. We're doing a lot of work on error correction to deal with this.
"This also segues into making the system immune to being played a voice recording, but it's already excellent at stopping fakes."
Mobile phone manufacturers are looking at the system, while development work is continuing within the originating team.
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