Behavioural biometrics — a new era of security

by: Neil Costigan

Twitter: @behaviosec

The definition of what constitutes a bank or payment provider is blurring, with innovators such as Apple and PayPal now competing in this space. These companies, which excel in customer service, are forcing the banks to consider how they can deliver the frictionless user experience that consumers now demand. Today’s bank customers want instant access to their accounts on the go — if this process is complicated by disruptive authentication processes, it’s easier than ever to seek another provider.

As banks seek to balance the all-important triangle of privacy, convenience, and security, they will need to change the way they think about security. Since virtually every authentication technique can be compromised, financial institutions should not rely solely on any single control for authorising high risk transactions, but adopt a layered approach, combining the various available authentication technologies to improve both accuracy and user experience.

One such authentication technique is behavioural biometrics, which sits in the background of an app or device, and is completely transparent to the user. It tracks behaviour — the way in which a user interacts with a device — to build up a unique profile for each user.

Nordic banks have opted for a collaborative approach to security, pooling their resources with the logic that the ‘sum of their parts’ will be more effective than trying to develop individual fraud prevention measures. The scale of the region means that it might be difficult to replicate this in the UK, though there may be lessons to be learned from this refusal to compete on security.

Usability is a major factor in determining client satisfaction. Disruptive technology and innovation for innovation’s sake may appeal to a small community of early adopters, but for banks, it is about taking on a technology that fits seamlessly into its business model, without causing any unnecessary interruption — either to business operations or user experience.

Editors Notes: This entry has been submitted to the FINTECH Book, the world’s 1st globally crowd-sourced book on FINTECH. Readers that enjoyed this innitial abstract are invited to share and like it so that it may be featured in a longer version that will published in the FINTECH Book due to be released November 2015.

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