AT&T: Draw Hamburger to Authenticate

If AT&T adopts the authentication approach disclosed Thursday, U-verse TV and DirecTV customers may unlock TV Everywhere applications such as WatchESPN and HBO Go by sketching a hamburger on a smartphone or tablet.

AT&T’s invention would rely on matching the user’s sketch to drawings captured previously. “If the user is truly who she purports to be, then her touch screen data will sufficiently match the freehand model generated from her own sketching skills. If her touch screen data does not match the freehand model, then perhaps an imposter or rogue is attempting to authenticate,” AT&T states in the patent application published Thursday.

Kevin LiKevin Li, former principal member of the technical staff at AT&T Labs, is named as inventor on the patent application, titled, “Methods, Systems, and Products for Authentication of Users.” Li left AT&T last December to found a New York-based software firm called Ketchup.

Abstract: Methods, systems, and products authenticate users for access to devices, applications, and services. Skills of a user are learned over time, such that an electronic model of random subject matter may be generated. The user is prompted to interpret the random subject matter, such as with an electronic drawing. The user’s interpretation is then compared to the electronic model of the random subject matter. If the user’s interpretation matches the electronic model, the user may be authenticated.

Patent Application

Claims:

1. A method, comprising: receiving, by a processor, an electronic request sent from a network address associated with a device, the electronic request requesting authentication of a user of the device; querying, by the processor, an electronic database for a noun, the electronic database stored in a memory accessible to the processor; sending, by the processor, an authentication instruction to the network address associated with the device, the authentication instruction including an electronic prompt to draw subject matter incorporating the noun; receiving, by the processor, an electronic sketch sent from the network address associated with the device, the electronic sketch describing the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user requesting the authentication; and authenticating, by the processor, the user based on the electronic sketch of the randomly selected subject matter.

2. The method of claim 1, further comprising storing an electronic listing of different noun words in the electronic database.

3. The method of claim 2, further comprising randomly selecting an entry in the electronic listing of different noun words.

4. The method of claim 1, further comprising receiving the electronic sketch comprising touch screen data, the touch screen data describing the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user requesting the authentication.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising retrieving a sketching skill.

6. The method of claim 5, further comprising generating a freehand model of the subject matter incorporating the noun using the sketching skill.

7. The method of claim 6, further comprising comparing the freehand model to the electronic sketch.

8. A system, comprising: a processor; and a memory storing instructions that, when executed by the processor, cause the processor to perform operations, the operations comprising: receiving an electronic request sent from a network address associated with a device, the electronic request requesting authentication of a user of the device; querying an electronic database for a noun; sending an authentication instruction to the network address associated with the device, the authentication instruction including an electronic prompt to draw subject matter incorporating the noun; receiving an electronic sketch sent from the network address associated with the device, the electronic sketch comprising the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user requesting the authentication; and authenticating the user based on the electronic sketch of the subject matter incorporating the noun.

9. The system of claim 8, wherein the operations further comprise storing an electronic listing of different noun words in the electronic database.

10. The system of claim 9, wherein the operations further comprise randomly selecting an entry in the electronic listing of different noun words.

11. The system of claim 8, wherein the operations further comprise receiving touch screen data representing the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user requesting the authentication.

12. The system of claim 8, wherein the operations further comprise retrieving a sketching skill.

13. The system of claim 12, wherein the operations further comprise generating a freehand model of the subject matter incorporating the noun using the sketching skill.

14. The system of claim 13, wherein the operations further comprise comparing the freehand model to the electronic sketch.

15. A memory storing instructions that when executed cause a processor to perform operations, the operations comprising: receiving an electronic request sent from a network address associated with a device, the electronic request requesting authentication of a user of the device; querying an electronic database for a noun; sending an authentication instruction to the network address associated with the device, the authentication instruction including an electronic prompt to draw subject matter incorporating the noun; receiving an electronic sketch sent from the network address associated with the device, the electronic sketch describing the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user requesting the authentication; and authenticating the user based on the electronic sketch of the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user.

16. The memory of claim 15, wherein the operations further comprise storing an electronic listing of different noun words in the electronic database.

17. The memory of claim 16, wherein the operations further comprise randomly selecting an entry in the electronic listing of different noun words.

18. The memory of claim 15, wherein the operations further comprise receiving touch screen data representing the subject matter incorporating the noun drawn by the user requesting the authentication.

19. The memory of claim 15, wherein the operations further comprise retrieving a sketching skill.

20. The memory of claim 19, wherein the operations further comprise generating a freehand model of the subject matter incorporating the noun.