Microsoft Pen Authentication: do we need yet more biometric tech?

Microsoft files a patent for secure user authentication using a stylus, but does the world need yet more biometric security?

Microsoft is looking for a patent to cover the ‘system and method for authentication with a computer stylus.’ In other words, authenticating a user by what and how they draw on the screen. This could make sense considering that so many devices now have touch-enabled screens. But do we really need yet another biometric authentication technology?

Handwriting recognition is nothing new, with efforts that include pressure applied, the inclination of written text and so on, going back at least ten years. None have ever taken off. So why should this Microsoft effort be any different when it doesn’t even appear to take that sort of biometric data into consideration?

Well, the Microsoft patent application is more than just a glorified lockscreen pattern detector or handwriting analysis tool. It talks about linking a specific stylus to a specific machine, which would make it a kind of 2FA device (meaning that the second factor in the multi-factor authentication (MFA) process is based on something you possess). Add the gesture recognition, to include the location on screen, and you get something you know thrown in as well.

This still leaves the question of why we need such a thing, when the world is already full of two-factor tokens, codes and biometric tech such as fingerprint or iris scanning?

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