New biometric ID technology innovations for 2015

FIDO members biometrics offering new dawn for data security
As security around data and Personal Identifiable Information (PII) increases year on year, the use of passwords, encryption and two factor authentication may be destined to become old hat in a new age of security management.  So what technologies are out there to choose from which have the greatest potential to be adopted by organisations which can choose almost any part of the body to create a security technology system from.   We run through some of the top offerings from members of authentication group, the FIDO Alliance:

1. Heartbeat
Using the heart’s natural ECG wave which creates a unique signature, the Nymi Band worn on the wrist, seeks to seamlessly integrate security without distraction throughout work and life using Bluetooth to authenticate you and other devices through a partner app on your computer or mobile device.  With the Bank of Canada and Mastercard taking an interest, watch this space.


2. Iris
Want a false positive rate of 1 in 1.5 million?  Then The Eyelock Myris could be your cup of tea. With the device plugged into your USB port, sites and applications connect to the Myris app, the user looks into the device to log in as you would a hand mirror.  Collecting 240 points of data on your iris, this technology is deployed across sectors such as security, border control, government and the financial services with over 3million transactions recorded over the last two years.

3. Sclera
Be unabashed now about taking a selfie, it will get you into work!  EyeVerify uses the ‘sclera’ or white part of the eyeball to analyse blood vessels in your eye to confirm your identity.  With financial institutions one of their main targets, several banks in Australia have started testing it with their employees and EyeVerify forms part of the MDM platform from Good Technology and Airwatch.

4. Fingerprint
No longer restricted to Scotland Yard, fingerprint readers are now embedded in smartphones, laptops and other devices, plus dedicated hardware in key fobs, dongles, and other peripherals, such as the IDKey from Sonavation and the Yukey from Egistec.   Software like The Onyx, from Diamond Fortress Technologies just uses the camera on your smartphone.

Onyx diamond

5. Voice
Voice biometrics give a chat on the phone new meaning.  Agnitio’s Kivox platform is used in police and surveillance arenas, through BYOD applications, in call centres and creating secure environments in the financial sector. The software sits on the phone, rather than requiring an internet connection and offers a patented anti-spoofing technology that caught 97% of fraud attempts, which other competitors they say failed to catch.


6. Face
Android app ‘AppLock’ by Sensory, found in the Google Play store uses your phone’s camera to see your face and has a “liveness” mode offering extra security to stop criminals copying your face with a picture, as well as a further checkpoint of voice recognition.  Not just to stop someone playing your games, it can ‘hide’ pictures and videos using control access, stop kids changing settings and protect your data.

7. Ear
Putting your phone device up to your ear in the most familiar manner – and having it unlock the device from ‘ear recognition’ is a reality through Google play from Descartes Biometrics. The app reads the shape of your ear where it touches the screen, but currently has a relatively low rating, so maybe not one just yet.

8. Finger vein
The Hitachi technology uses infrared light to painlessly and rapidly scan the veins inside your finger. Amicus ITS covered Barclays Bank’s embarkation into finger vein technology on 5th September and it is in use in ATMs in Japan and Poland.  The producers claim it is so hard to read as it reads the inside of the finger so has a lower rejection rate – and dead fingers have no blood flow, so no benefit to gangster theories of brutality to extract funds.

9. Brain waves
There are two leading consumer devices to read brainwaves, but they cannot be used yet as authentication devices. The ‘Emotiv Insight’ (scheduled to hit the market this March funded through a $1.6 million Kickstarter campaign), collectS EEG measurements of brain performance from which meaningful data can be gathered and ‘read your mind’.  Like its (now unavailable) rival ‘Mindwave’ headsets from NeuroSky, it uses dry contact sensors and is safe for all ages.

Biometric technologies will become more commonplace and compliment or even replace passwords in the future.   Whilst some of these applications might sound too far off now for your organisation, companies should keep a close eye on authentication technology and which ones might make more attractive adopters for your workforce, rather than just another technical barrier to getting on with the day’s work and accessing spaces.

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