The reliability of user authentication through keystroke dynamics

S. Douhou, J.R. Magnus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


When typing on a keyboard a user can be authenticated through what he/she types (username, password), but also through how he/she types, that is, through keystroke dynamics. We study whether authentication through keystroke dynamics is sufficiently reliable as a security instrument to be used together with the more standard instruments. Based on a data set of 1254 participants who typed the same username and password, 20 times each, we develop a test statistic and obtain the power of our test. We conclude that keystroke dynamics can be a reliable security instrument for authentication, if used together with other instruments. It seems more suitable for authentication (verification) than for identification. Dwell times (how long a key is held pressed) are more discriminatory and therefore more powerful than flight times (time between consecutive press times).
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-449
JournalStatistica Neerlandica
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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