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Types of behavioral biometrics: Mouse use characteristics 

Biometrics represent uniquely identifying and measurable patterns in human interaction with devices. Behavioural biometrics are used in multiple scenarios such as authentication while analyzing physical or behavioral models. 

The various biometrics successfully represent a factor in an authentication system. Biometrics or behavioral traits are considered what the user is or the inherence factor. What the user knows or knowledge factor is a PIN or password and what the user has or possession factor is hardware such a SIM or token.

Some biometrics require specialized hardware to be recorded while others, like typing biometrics, are easy to capture with just conventional equipment such as a keyboard. Recently, medical research is using AI to analyze biometrics to improve human lives and identify diseases. 

In these series, we look into the different types of biometrics, their use cases and also, the advantages for both companies and end-users alike. 

Mouse use characteristics

Invented in the ’60s, the mouse is still widely used for pointing and selecting in desktop environments. Even after the wide public acceptation with the launch of the Apple Macintosh in 1983, the device hasn’t changed much. The ball underneath is indeed an optical transmitter now, but mainly design and function remain the same.

Until recent years, mouse tracking has been used to gather information on the interaction of a user with a web interface. Most data collected was used to improve design and site interaction. Research in the past years has made it possible to analyze behavior. Used conventional, a mouse interaction provides proprioceptive feedback through grasping and visual feedback via the stimulus presented on the computer system’s display. Based on Fitt’s law and the Accot-Zhai steering law, mouse movement analysis can predict behavior and indicate the identity of the user. 


The conventional mouse is enough to “capture” the natural behavior of a user. No additional hardware is required. 


If used as an additional layer of security in authentication, the mouse use characteristics are not reliable enough. The behavior traits must be paired with other, more secure factors.

Another drawback of the mouse use is the limitation to a desktop environment. If users are switching devices, the technique is redundant.