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Permutable Keypads Disclosure Number: IPCOM000200336D
Publication Date: 2010-Oct-06
Document File: 2 page(s) / 283K

Publishing Venue

The Prior Art Database


Disclosed is a method for increasing security for users entering personal identification numbers (PIN) or codes into keypads, where their motions might be observed and learned. The invention is a keypad having changeable configurations of the alpha-numeric or symbolic keys such that users would input a different set of keystrokes each time they entered their PIN, making it difficult to observe and repeat.

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Permutable Keypads

Key pads are ubiquitous input devices to communicate with computing devices. Key pads used a fixed layout of keys (for the alphabet and numerals) which while convenient for users, can create vulnerability for security in certain scenarios.

For example, an intruder can watch a customer as they input their personal identification number (PIN) at an automated teller machine (ATM) to discern the pattern of finger movements and infer the numbers that constitute the customer's PIN. Another scenario is unlocking a cell phone for use. Typically cell phones lock the keyboard so that inadvertent key presses do not launch applications or dial a number without the user's knowledge. To resume normal use, the user has to unlock the device by entering a PIN, and an intruder nearby can watch the pattern of key presses and infer the PIN with relative ease. As cell phones today are mobile computing platforms carrying loads of personal and business communications and information, this kind of vulnerability is a serious matter.

The disclosed solution is to permute the layout of keys that constitute a key pad so that the entry of the same PIN essentially leads to different gestures for every entry. As the user inputs their PIN on a permutable keypad, their gestures will differ from one entry to the next, thereby increasing the burden on the intruder to infer their PIN. Namely, an intruder will have to observe not only the gestures but also the layout of the keypad...