Man looking at phone
Soon you may be able to sign into your account just by using ambient sound iStock

Swiss security researchers have developed a futuristic authentication system for digital logins that just requires one tiny element - ambient noise.

Futurae, a start-up formed by a group of IT specialists at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), has developed an app which will make sure that login for any e-mail, social media account or even your desktop is not done by an impersonator or remote hacker. It will use the environmental noise as an authentication token in a piece of software it calls Sound-Proof.

As of now, users go through the two factor authentication system when they try to enter into their digital accounts. They are required to provide a unique code, which is sent to their mobile phones, to validate their login. Sound-Proof will give users an additional option to authenticate their login as recorded ambient sounds will have to be matched.

How does it work?

When a Sound-Proof enabled service checks for authentication, it will ask the device attempting to log in and the user's personal device. It records the surrounding sounds from both devices for three seconds. An artificial intelligence (AI) algorithm then compares the two. And only when the sounds match the user will get access to their account as the system concludes that the user is in the same place as the device logging in.

The sound here could be anything, from people talking to a quiet library to kids shouting at the background. The sound picking technology is so advanced that even in the quietest of environments it will pick up an ambient noise.

The new concept has been developed by Claudio Marforio and Nikos Karapanos from System Security Group in ETH's Department of Computer Science.