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Korea Internet & Security Agency developing biometric authentication for mobile banking


South Korean government-run Korea Internet & Security Agency is developing biometric authentication for mobile banking with plans to commercialize the technology by late 2018, according to a report by The Korean Herald.

“We are developing an algorithm for authenticating mobile banking with a combination of a fingerprint, heart rate and (an) electrocardiogram,” said Jason Kim, chief of KISA’s security technology dissemination team. “The technology is expected to be much safer than existing biometrics including iris sensors, fingerprint scanners and facial recognition.”

The biometric authentication technology reads heart rates and electrocardiograms on an individual’s smartwatch and then sends the information to his or her smartphone.

The user then unlocks the smartphone with his or her fingerprint, enabling the use of mobile banking.

UK bank Halifax and the Royal Bank of Canada previously tested electrocardiograms for authentication, however, this would mark the first time anyone has combined a fingerprint scanner, heart rate and an electrocardiogram for mobile banking authentication. Kim said he will apply for a patent for the technology later this month.

KISA is currently in talks with some smartphone vendors in Korea and China for the adoption of the biometric technologies, although Kim would not reveal the names of the manufacturers.

“If the discussion goes well, a prototype using the biometric authentication may be available in the market later this year,” Kim said.

The development of the biometrics technology is being led by Kim under the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning with an investment of 1.2 billion won ($1 million).

KISA partnered with the National University in Spain, the US Telebiometric Research Center and a small Korean tech company for the project, which began in June 2016 and will conclude by the end of 2018.

Kim will present the biometric technologies at ITU Telecom World, an annual ICT conference organized by the United Nations International Telecommunication Union that will be held in Busan in September.

Last year the Korea Internet & Security Agency (KISA) announced that two mobile biometric authentication technologies it had developed with Korean researchers were selected as global standards at the ITU-T SG17 Q1 Telebiometrics meeting in Geneva.

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