November 10, 2014 -
This is a guest post by Max Snijder, secretary general of the European Association for Biometrics (EAB).
On 24 October 2014, the day after the Biometrics 2014 event at the QE-II venue, Citibank hosted the EAB seminar Biometrics in Banking at their Canary Wharf branch, supported by co-organizer Financial Fraud Action UK. The expected number of 50 attendees was far exceeded, as over 100 people from 30 different banks and financial institutions and other companies finally attended. It is not just the momentum for such event, given the upcoming payment revolution through biometric smartphones such as the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy, but also the quality of the program and speakers that obviously attracted the attention of so many.
It is the EAB’s objective to build bridges between the various stakeholders. The programme reflected this by offering a diversity of subjects and perspectives, ranging from regulative issues such as the new European Payment Services Directive (EPSD2) by Anoosha Levani (from Citibank) to industry presentations of state of the art products and implementations.
The dynamics in the payment sector regarding biometrics and mobility was most clearly illustrated by Richard Martin, Head of Authentication-Digital Propositions at Visa Europe, who painted the picture of a financial sector that embraces a range of authentication solutions characterized by flexibility and usability. His call for the biometrics industry to be ready for this demand certainly has an impact on the application of standards (such as ISO and FIDO) as well as lower costs and higher user convenience. Prof.Dr. Christoph Busch from the Norwegian Information Security laboratory (NISlab) gave the attendees a convincing overview regarding the security level of biometric technologies and the availability of relevant standards for biometric products. As long as end users require these standards in their specifications and independent institutes will test the conformity of the products and solutions, biometrics are ready for large-scale deployments.
Some excellent use cases were presented by GE Money Bank from the Czech Republic (using xyzmo software) and SOFTPRO on the use of real time signature verification. Real time user authentication by someone’s behaviour at his/her PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone was impressively demonstrated by Ingo Deutschmann from Behaviosec. More than 500 m clients are routinely being authenticated this way, with a high level of accuracy.
Where in many case it was spoken about some form of verification (1:1 check), Oliver von Treuenfels from DERMALOG Identification Systems made his case for a secure and reliable process for properly identifying a (new) client based on fingerprints. These centrally stored fingerprints should ensure that people would not enter the system with multiple identities, a process, which is increasingly being used for public administrations in Asia, Africa and the South Americas. The strong potential of vein pattern recognition was nicely demonstrated by Thomas Bengs from Fujitsu Enterprise Solutions, who presented a broad portfolio of technologies and solutions for various use cases. The most intriguing one may have been about the use of sophisticated vein pattern sensors that can be used for home banking because of their robustness against spoofing.
The seminar concluded with a panel discussion chaired by Max Snijder, secretary of the EAB and organizer of the seminar, to which Thomas Bengs, Christoph Busch, Richard Martin and Oliver von Treuenfels participated. The main conclusions were:
– The TouchID of the iPhone 5S is not a hype, but has set some major changes into movement. That implies that stakeholders such as banks and credit card companies need to respond accordingly in order to become part of that change.
– The biometrics industry still needs better to comply with standards, including interoperability and performance. End users such as banks and creditcard companies can only be flexible if the biometric products strictly comply to standards and are easily exchangeable. If not, scalability will be impaired by high costs.
The seminar was generally perceived as very useful. New dates and locations for next editions are in the planning.
The seminar was skilfully and inspirationally moderated by Dr. Farzin Deravi from the University of Kent.
2015 will see two more Biometrics in Banking seminars the EAB is organizing: Zurich, Switzerland in June (exact date to be determined) and October 16 in London, UK (once again after the Biometrics 2015 event).
“Through its strong network throughout Europe,” said Snijder, “the EAB is setting up a series of ‘Biometrics in Banking’ seminars, making sure we are reaching out to the whole European banking community. Although developments are fast in this sector, still a lot is unknown and needs to be elaborated. Sharing of best practices through the EAB seminars is an important way to do that, as it brings together relevant end users, industries and academia.”
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