Paedophiles could be identified through typing

Typing patterns

New research from Newcastle University has claimed paedophiles could be identified on internet sites by the way they type.

With just ten keystrokes, American Professor Roy Maxion claimed to be able to establish the sex, age and cultural background of a user, which could help in the fight against paedophiles grooming youngsters on the internet.

Phil Butler, head of the university's Cyber Crime and Computer Security department and a former Northumbria Police Detective chief inspector, believes the new technique developed by Maxion could be integral in finding adults posing as children on the web.

"[Maxion] can now identify anyone using a keyboard within a 95 per cent accuracy within ten keystrokes," he said in a statement. "As soon as you type ten numbers or letters he can work out your sex, your culture, your age and whether you have any hand injuries."

The research is conducted by monitoring speeds and rhythms of 50 people at a time while they type with electronic sensors on their fingertips. It has shown that women's typing tends to flow more and be a bit faster while men tend towards a more "heavy-handed" technique.

Butler believes this could be used by companies to identify whether an adult is involved when children talk on online messengers.

The research could also be applied in other ways, such as preventing fraud at cash points.

Jennifer Scott

Jennifer Scott is a former freelance journalist and currently political reporter for Sky News. She has a varied writing history, having started her career at Dennis Publishing, working in various roles across its business technology titles, including ITPro. Jennifer has specialised in a number of areas over the years and has produced a wealth of content for ITPro, focusing largely on data storage, networking, cloud computing, and telecommunications.

Most recently Jennifer has turned her skills to the political sphere and broadcast journalism, where she has worked for the BBC as a political reporter, before moving to Sky News.