Usually it's a problem when you can't remember a password. But in this particular case, it's by design. A new security technique mashes up cryptography with neuroscience to create passwords that are stored in users' brains but cannot be recalled, recited, or otherwise extracted by another party.
The system is based on an idea known as implicit learning, in which the brain subconsciously learns a pattern without consciously recognizing it. In tests, Stanford University researchers put test subjects in front of a computer game in which they had to catch falling objects on the screen by pressing a key, with each key corresponding to one of six positions on the screen.
The positions of the falling objects appeared to be random, but they weren't. Buried in the game was a sequence of 30 successive positions that repeated more than 100 times over the course of 45 minutes of play. Their brains unconsciously learned this pattern, and by the end of their time at the console they were making fewer errors when they encountered this sequence--even though they had no idea the sequence was there.
Two weeks later, they still made fewer errors when the sequence was introduced into the game. Their brains remembered the sequence even though none of them could identify the sequence if asked. The idea could form a security scheme in which an authorized person is embedded with a sequence in an initial session and then asked to play the game to authenticate him- or herself later. Previous studies have shown that sequences learned implicitly simply can't be recalled or understood by the brain, so there's no way the person could willingly or unwillingly give up their authenticating password, yet it could be used to authenticate them time and time again.
Playing Devil's Advocate since 1978
"The only constant in the universe is change"
-Heraclitus of Ephesus 535 BC - 475 BC
I can attest to that. I can type my password without hesitation or pause, but I couldn't write it on a piece of paper to save my life.
thats ^^vv<><>(b)(a)start youll never get those cheats to work with a,b,start!
We humans believe we have free will, but in fact they alien Gods have program in our brains instructions for us all and will become active once the outer space ships begin to land.
"Passwords!” Ha! That’s child’s play! Bra ha hahaha ha... twirling ringing of tentacle hands in the deep Mars cave with many glowing purple eyes and her many eggs....
So if you're too tired or drunk to think clearly, you won't play well and won't get past security. Also lets not forget that some people are just better at gaming than others. One person could practice for two weeks and the next could beat him in one try. Maybe this technology has other applications, but the idea of using a person's skill level at a game for security? No.
Silverjeff, a person's absolute skill at the authentication game wouldn't matter. They would just have to be better at the password sequence of the game relative to their normal play.
So its kind of a mnemonic password, eh Johnny?
@Silverjeff I think you've missed the point. It doesn't matter if someone else is better or worse at the game than you, if your brain subconsciously remembers the pattern then that precise memory is unique to you. "Skill level" is irrelevant. Also, the game was just an example to demonstrate the point.