Making “Very Strong” even Stronger.
It’s hard to imagine that not that long ago there were articles everywhere on how to devise effective passwords. How to manage them, protect them, remember them. It’s no longer effective to follow any of these strategies. Experts estimate that nearly three billion credentials have been compromised in just the last few years. Considering how unwilling most organizations are to discuss a breach, we’ll never know the extent of the damage these hacks have caused.
By Alessandro Chiarini
On many occasions, I’ve expressed growing concern about fraudsters, cyber-criminals, and threat actors. From day one of the digital era, they have penetrated networks with ingenuity, skill and determination, in an endless effort to breach, penetrate, steal, and ransom as much as they possibly can.
Unfortunately, they were often aided, indirectly, by the very organizations that they targeted in financial services, healthcare, online retail, etc. These and other industries were slower than they should have been to acknowledge their vulnerabilities and find new ways to protect themselves.
But I am confident that with the right deployment of compound biometrics, those days are over.
As passwords and PINs give way to biometrics and multi-factor authentication (MFA), organizations have begun strengthening their security. More important, they are determined to maintain that safety edge and now have the technology with which to do so.
At Fortress Identity, one main area of focus has been voice identification. Voiceprint analysis is particularly effective, and fast at confirming that users are who they claim to be. Our voice biometric identification engine can match one-to-one or one-to-many, in under 1.5 seconds and at a rate of 30,000 per second, respectively.
By itself, voice is the next revolution of biometric identification from passwords and tokens in securing access to sensitive systems, data, and physical locations. Every individual’s voiceprints are unique. Employing voice-based authentication gives organizations a higher degree of security, combined with ease of use for their customers.
Although voice is strong, combining it with other biometric identification methods, or modalities, can be make it nearly unexploitable.
The rise of Compound Biometrics.
We are pleased to be working with Visa, Real Networks, and others on user authentication systems that combine two or more biometric modalities to provide a high level of protection. I’ll describe these projects in a moment, but first, let’s review some biometrics available today in addition to voice.
- Facial Recognition.
- Facial recognition is easy, non-invasive, and quickly becoming ubiquitous. For instance, millions of people use it today to access their smartphones, and it is increasingly being used at airports, retail stores, and expanding yearly.
- Smartphones, credit cards, car doors, and as the IoT revolution approaches, many more devices, have an embedded fingerprint readers.
- Behavioral Biometrics.
- The rhythm and speed of your typing and swiping, the angle at which you hold your phone – measure enough of these tiny variables and, over time, you will compile an identifiable user profile. In more advanced cases a gait analysis can identify individuals, even in a crowd. With zero effort required on the user’s part.
Using the best combination of factors.
Having so many biometric options to work with, organizations can now fine-tune the solution that best meets their security requirements and desired user experience.
For example, Fortress Identity is partnering with Real Networks, developers of SAFR™, the leading facial recognition platform for live video. AI-based SAFR is widely deployed at schools, hospitals, airports, arenas, and other venues to control access and provide greater situational awareness.
By integrating our advanced voice biometrics with Real Networks’ facial recognition capabilities, we will be able to offer a Compound Biometric system that provides an even higher degree of protection, without inconveniencing people. A user will walk up to a door. Real Networks recognizes the person entering, validates they have access to that location and Fortress Identity will validate the identity of the person and allow them to access that site.
We are also exploring a compound biometric solution with a leading provider of patient information systems. The challenge here involves mask-and-glove environments in which users cannot easily interact with an interface.
For example, think of a nurse entering an ICU. He’s wearing a mask and surgical gloves and can’t safely touch a keyboard. Instead, he walks up to a monitor that receives a beacon from a device in his pocket. The monitor recognizes him. Next, he recites a randomly generated number that appears on the screen. Fortress Identity software compares his voice to the voiceprint on file, confirming his identity in milliseconds. At this point, the patient medical records he needs are made available to him, and the system knows when and by whom those records were accessed.
Solutions don’t get much more practical than that.
Finally, Fortress Identity will soon be providing biometric solutions to protect merchants and bank cardholders during transactions. Verifying the identity of people attempting to make payments, purchase products when their card is not present or when using digital wallets is critical to reducing many types of fraud.
As with the RealNetworks system, this new multi-factor security system leverages compound biometrics. The Fortress Identity suite of solutions incorporates voiceprints, as well as other active (voice, face, and fingerprint) and passive behavioral biometrics. We can establish identity with an exceedingly high degree of certainty.
Security this strong and frictionless will generate many benefits for merchants and bank cardholders, those controlling access to critical areas and data, and health records. The most important, of course, is peace of mind. Merchants and banks want their customers to feel absolutely confident that their funds, transactions and personal data are safe whenever and wherever they use their cards and digital wallets. Other organizations want the same protection for customer details, IoT devices, transactions and access.
Using compound biometrics, Fortress Identity solutions enable organizations to step up access control and transaction security, making very strong even stronger.