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Researchers Have Found a Way To Root Out Identity Thieves By Analyzing Their Mouse Movements With AI ( 62

An anonymous reader shares an article: In the study, published recently in PLoS One, the researchers quizzed 40 respondents about their personal details. Half of the respondents were asked to answer the questions truthfully, but the other half were given details about fake identities they had to memorize and use in the quiz. The computer quiz kept track of the movement of each respondent's mouse as they answered the questions, and noted how the fakes differed from the truth-tellers when they moved the cursor from the bottom of the screen to the answers at the top. The quiz consisted of 12 questions like, "Do you live in Padua?" and "Are you Italian?" That covered details an identity thief could easily remember and answer, but then the quiz threw them a curve ball. "What is your zodiac sign," it asked in the second series of 12 questions, which were designed to be easy for the genuine respondents, but more difficult for the fakers to work out. After the researchers took the mouse-movement data collected from the quizzes and trained a machine-learning algorithm to analyze it, they found that was indeed the case. It was able to discern the fake responses from the real ones 95% of the time.
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Researchers Have Found a Way To Root Out Identity Thieves By Analyzing Their Mouse Movements With AI

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  • zodiac signs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday June 12, 2017 @04:05PM (#54604945)

    I have no fucking clue what my zodiac sign is, I'd have to look that crap up. I'm not just not into fairy tales for adults.

    • Re:zodiac signs (Score:5, Insightful)

      by gnick ( 1211984 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @04:24PM (#54605115) Homepage

      I have no fucking clue what my zodiac sign is, I'd have to look that crap up. I'm not just not into fairy tales for adults.

      My guess is that makes you part of the minority. I, like I'd imagine most people, know my sign but don't particularly care. I have no idea what it "says about me" and put zero faith in sign-specific predictions. I know what Chinese-animal-year I was born in too, but put the same amount of faith in what it implies.

      Just because you don't believe in Hansel & Gretel doesn't mean you've never heard of it. You've really never run into an astrological chart?

      • I know what Chinese-animal-year I was born in too, but put the same amount of faith in what it implies.

        This actually points out how culturally-specific the question is. I have no idea what my Chinese animal year is, but the Chinese version of this would no doubt ask me. Immigrants are going to be automatically labeled as identity thieves by this algorithm because they don't share the same cultural context.

      • someone calling you while filling the questionnaire would also mark you as an id thief.

        using a touchscreen would do that.

        answering a message in the middle of filling it would also mark you as an id thief.

        the whole point of the study is this: if you need to look up something you're likely to not be able to answer as quick and straightforward.

        it's the kind of a study you can make a hypothesis for easily and verify it easily and provide something that can be presented like it is a solution possibly with furthe

    • I have no fucking clue what my zodiac sign is

      I don't believe you. If you have this strong of an opinion about astrology, then you have almost certainly been exposed to it enough to know your sign. Astrology is idiotic nonsense, but I have known my sign as long as I can remember. I have had plenty of people tell me my sign and read my horoscope out loud. If you grew up in America, and associated at all with "normal" people, I don't see how you could avoid it.

      • I think it is maybe a generational thing. I have no issues believing they don't know their sign. When I was younger, I believe I'm a bit older than you, it was pretty common to ask what someone's sign was. We also had some fruitcakes who believed in it.

        I'd be surprised to find out that both of my kids know their sign. I suspect my daughter would, she is in her thirties. My son? Probably not. He's a bit younger than she. I'm pretty sure they'd both know their Chinese animal sign. I was the custodial parent.

        • by Lorens ( 597774 )

          I saw an underage guy get blocked from a bar based on not knowing his zodiac sign. He'd borrowed the ID of a slightly older friend who looked a bit like him (but not enough). He'd learned by heart everything on the ID card, but the bouncer got suspicious and then asked him for his zodiac sign.

          Maybe a generational thing indeed, this was some twenty years ago.

      • by jblues ( 1703158 )

        This Just In: Data Scientists develop a machine-learning algorithm that can identify, with 95.6% accuracy, people who fake not knowing their Zodiac sign, based on how vitriolic their slashdot comments are.

        Respondents were shown an article on slashdot regarding a supervised AI application, and encouraged to comment. The forum then threw them a curve-ball, encouraging them to disclose their star signs. The results were then analyzed by a machine learning algorithm.

        Johan Virgo, when asked about the research

      • by jblues ( 1703158 )

        This just in: Data Scientists develop a machine learning algorithm that can detect people, with 95.6% accuracy, who fake not knowing their zodiac sign, based on how vitriolic their slashdot comments are.

        Participants were shown a Slashdot article and encouraged to comment. The process then threw them a curve-ball, allowing them to respond as anonymous cowards. Finally the participants were asked to disclose their Zodiac signs. The results were then fed in to a supervised AI.

        Johan Virgo, when asked about the

    • That makes it a wrong question, but I think in the idea that reality is automatically consistent while lies have to be made up so as not to contradict themselves as they pile up still generally holds and could be used for detection of malicious individuals.
    • I have no fucking clue what my zodiac sign is, I'd have to look that crap up. I'm not just not into fairy tales for adults.

      Then you're clearly a Sagittarius.

    • I might know my star sign if the people who publish such things could figure it out. I was born right at the end of one of the signs, and it varies, depending who wrote out the fairytales that day. This must apply to 12/365 of people. It sounds like a really stupid question - nearly as bad as What Chinese Year were you born in? Goat, Dragon, which? I think a high proportion of folk would not know.

      How tall are you? - sounds like a much better question. I somehow doubt most identity thieves would actually kno

  • What is my sign? (Score:4, Informative)

    by Archangel Michael ( 180766 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @04:05PM (#54604959) Journal

    I respond .... "Neon".

  • This can also work with signature pads. A forger maybe able to fake your signature, but they have a much harder time faking the rhythm and timing of the strokes.

    Another test that measures timing is testing for pedophila. Patients are shown pictures of children, adolescents, and adults, and asked to rate each picture for attraction. The ratings are then ignored, and instead the "dwell time" for each photo is what is actually measured, since that is much more predictive.

    • Why would there be a test for pedophilia? Is that for use in a clinical setting? I know some issues are ... tricky for people to deal with. Self-denial and all. I'm not 100% certain how detection is helpful, though, considering a person who is aware of some issue and willing to accept the potential shouldn't have trouble introspecting and identifying that they maybe are kind-of bisexual or whatever it is they're choking on.

      I'd imagine test for pedophilia would be ... problematic in other situations. Huge invasion of privacy, at least here in the U.S.. We can't take legal action against someone who hasn't taken actual criminal action (no thought-crime), and discrimination against a person for such a diagnostic result would be devastating. We have legal protections for discrimination and privacy invasion if you're gay or something.

      • by x0ra ( 1249540 )
        [cynicism] But... will you please think about the children ! [/cynicism]

        You should be careful, because in today's world (especially in the US), not being hasty in throwing people under the bus is, in itself, a proof of self guilt.
        • Psh. I have no friends and am schizoid, and people have tried to use this in political debates about welfare to argue that a sociopath obviously has no valid political opinion on social welfare (I literally score 0 on the sociopath test some days; the threshold is a mile and a half away).

          Oddly enough, being tossed under the bus hasn't had an impact on me; it's just plain old not having a need to mesh into a social group that makes me question things. You could argue, in an abstract way, that maybe you

      • Why would there be a test for pedophilia? Is that for use in a clinical setting?

        Where else would you test for a medical condition than in a clinical setting?

      • Condition of release, testing prior to sentencing, and determination of associated risks when being considered for release from mandatory treatment - to name a few reasons that I can think of. They do another one where they put a cuff, like for blood pressure, on your penis. There are several documentaries that cover the subject.

        • If they have confirmation of pedophilia, that's pretty much it. You can't un-pedophile someone any more than you can un-gay them; all you can do is determine if they're liable to tie a cookie to a string and troll it through the nearest preschool yard.

      • by houghi ( 78078 )

        The thing is that IF you are a pedophile does not mean you are raping kids. It does not mean you are acting on it. The thing with it is that even if you want to ask for help, it is extremely difficult to find somebody who would help you and not have any consequences.

        You might know you are an abusive alcoholic that has beaten up all your past partners, yet that would still be easier than somebody who gets a woody looking at kids and knows that is not right and seeks help.

  • Are they even trying anymore ? It sounds more and more that the way to research work is 1) gather shit data, 2) feed any combination to it to neural net, 3) look for correlation, 4) repeat if nothing interesting, 5) publish. At this point, they might as well rename AI for AR, as in Artificial Research...
    • Re:"Researcher" ? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by dunkindave ( 1801608 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @04:29PM (#54605153)
      Actually, that is close to how a lot of drug research is done. 1) Create new drug, 2) throw at a lot of cultures to see what effect it has on any of them, 3) follow up where an effect is observed, 4) market. For example, Rogaine was originally developed to treat ulcers and hypertension, and Viagra to treat hypertension and mild heart problems, and look where they went.
  • Then to fool the AI, all you need is an AI program to drive the mouse to mimic the original person.
  • Claims are overblown (Score:4, Interesting)

    by maiden_taiwan ( 516943 ) on Monday June 12, 2017 @04:20PM (#54605081)

    By itself, this study just shows that a machine learning algorithm can compute a statistical average (regarding mouse movements) that classifies a specific set of 40 people into two groups.

    If the same statistical average also classifies other groups of people accurately, then you can make real claims about separating truth-tellers and liars.

    See this good explanation of pattern classification [] and its uses and misuses.

    • They also had to memorize answers. If they had them on another open window, there might be odd mouse movements; if they had them on another monitor, then they would have less to think about. Everyone has to read all the answers and compare with their own memory; struggling with recall is potentially-detectable, and this may only show how well someone learned something. If the data isn't memorized at all, are the artifacts as large?

  • As someone who disparages and ridicules astrology, I take pride in not knowing my zodiac sign. Now this stupid algorithm is going to declare me an identity thief of my own identity.

    Worse, now that this technique has been revealed, the real thieves meanwhile will remember to note down info they enter in pieces of paper as the go along, thus they can revisit, open another google window to search for stuff etc.

  • But their dowsing rod is now better than ever... or was in a test, anyway.

  • No significant result possible.

  • If someone were to steal your online banking credentials, log in as if they are you, and try to empty out your account, this kind of system might prove useful. Unless of course you have a tennis elbow, sore arm muscles or just injured your hand, in which case you would not be able to use your own money and possibly starve to death as a result. =) Remember kids - always keep a small wad of 100s tucked away in your sock, for days when the thief-detecting-mouse-movement-algorithm thinks that YOU are not YOU. A
  • Seriously? Hackers? Mice? GUI? That's funny.
  • At around 2012 - 2014 Google's Russian office developed a very similar technology for clickfraud detection. What has happened later - the best talent involved in developing it was given a relocation offer to Switzerland given that he was just SO INCREDIBLY VALUABLE, but the guy refused. Their HR's became more assertive, threatening to ruin his Arbeitsbuch (in Russia your work record is an official document just like in China). The guy demandes his Arbeitsbuch back and resigned the same day. People say he j

  • Oh look, another reason why a web form has to have javascript to work. It's for security, doncha know!

  • Interesting but not novel or new. For example typing patterns have been used before, this is an established biometric measurement called typing or keystroke dynamics [] . There are even companies [] that sell typing metrics as an authentication factor.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson