Israeli startup Unbotify uses behavioral biometrics to dupe hacker bots

July 17, 2017 - 

Israeli tech startup Unbotify has developed a solution that analyzes human behavior patterns to differentiate between bots and humans in order to prevent online fraud, according to a report by The Times of Israel.

Unbotify’s product leverage behavioral biometrics — such as how long keys are pressed, how a mouse is moved and how a device is held — to determine whether the user is a living, breathing human being or simply a bot.

Last month, the company came in first place at the 2017 Cyberstorm competition at Tel Aviv University, as well as ranked first among Israel’s most innovative companies in 2017 by Fast Company magazine.

“Our claim is we are not raising the bar a little bit and waiting for the fraudsters to catch up,” said Eran Magril, vice president of product and operations. “We are looking at the data points which are the hardest for them to fake in order to go undetected.”

“We know if you are holding your device at a specific angle, and what happens if you tap your mobile device, how does this angle change? This is a very granulated kind of data that even if you’re just putting your phone on the table, it will still be sending data about the x, y, z [axes] of your machine and how it changes all the time from very small vibrations in the room.”

Bots have become the preferred method of popular online fraud attacks, which can cost industries millions of dollars or impact public opinion on key issues.

With an average success rate of two percent, a hacker that has a million sets of credentials can hijack over 20,000 accounts, Magril said.

“That’s the power of automation for fraudsters,” Magril said. “If they have automation they can operate on a big scale. It’s a huge problem and everyone is talking about it, especially in the last year with the elections in the United States and France and other places.”

Unbotify’s technology is more effective than existing detection and protection measures because machines are unable to fake human behavior “in all its diversity and complexity,” , Magril said.

The company is constantly adding new characteristics for the purpose of analyzing in an effort to prevent hackers from figuring out what body movements need to be copied.

Since launching two years ago, the Ramat Yishai, Israel-based Unbotify has raised approximately $2 million from Maverick Ventures.

While the company’s product targets automation only, Unbotify has found that there are specific behavioral indicators — such as certain keystroke habits — that can identify an individual who is creating fake accounts.

“We saw that analysis of behavioral biometrics can also be used to differentiate between different groups of people with different intentions,” Magril said.

Unbotify is currently focused on its core technology, but may expand into new markets in the future. With customers in the US and Europe, the company is eventually looking to expand their clientele to China.

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.