A parallel decision tree-based method for user authentication based on keystroke patterns

Yong Sheng, Vir V. Phoha, Steven M. Rovnyak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

83 Scopus citations


We propose a Monte Carlo approach to attain sufficient training data, a splitting method to improve effectiveness, and a system composed of parallel decision trees (DTs) to authenticate users based on keystroke patterns. For each user, approximately 19 times as much simulated data was generated to complement the 387 vectors of raw data. The training set, including raw and simulated data, is split into four subsets. For each subset, wavelet transforms are performed to obtain a total of eight training subsets for each user. Eight DTs are thus trained using the eight subsets. A parallel DT is constructed for each user, which contains all eight DTs with a criterion for its output that it authenticates the user if at least three DTs do so; otherwise it rejects the user. Training and testing data were collected from 43 users who typed the exact same string of length 37 nine consecutive times to provide data for training purposes. The users typed the same string at various times over a period from November through December 2002 to provide test data. The average false reject rate was 9.62% and the average false accept rate was 0.88%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-833
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2005
Externally publishedYes


  • Biometrics
  • Computer security
  • Keystroke patterns
  • Monte Carlo methods
  • Network security
  • Parallel decision trees
  • Simulations
  • Wavelet analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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