It’s not what you type, but how you type it
Research by Prof Roy Maxion of Carnegie Mellon University claims to be able to tell a great deal about a person by the way they type. His research claims that “As soon as you type ten numbers or letters he can work out your sex, your culture, your age and whether you have any hand injuries.” He believes that this can be achieved with a 95% accuracy.
In the UK, where Prof Maxion is an Associate Professor at the University of Newcastle, it is hoped research based on these findings will be able to identify paedophiles posing as children on social networking sites. Phil Butler, head of the university’s Cyber Crime and Computer Security department and a former Northumbria Police Detective chief inspector, believes the new technique has the potential for being a valuable weapon in their arsenal. He states, “We’re looking at the application of the research, particularly in relation to internet grooming. If children are talking to each other on Windows Live or MSN Messenger, we are looking at ways of providing the chatroom moderators with the technology to be able to see whether an adult is on there by the way they type.”
The university is planning to submit a proposal to the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council to fund further research. It is thought the technology could also be used to prevent fraud at devices such as cash machines.