TypingDNA to demo typing biometrics to growing market at RSA

TypingDNA to demo typing biometrics to growing market at RSA

Fresh off a $7 million Series A funding round led by Gradient VC, Google’s AI venture arm, TypingDNA is bringing its keystroke dynamics-based behavioral biometrics to RSA to boost awareness of “typing biometrics” among security professionals with live demonstrations.

TypingDNA CEO Raul Popa and CMO Cristian Tamas, two of the company’s three co-founders, guided Biometric Update through recent company developments, the state of the behavioral biometrics market, and what it hopes to accomplish by its participation in the upcoming RSA 2020 conference in a telephone interview.

Behavioral biometrics have been growing rapidly, with Allied Market Research forecasting a compound annual growth rate above 23 percent for the market to reach $4 billion by 2025. That growth could be compounded by a wave of new regulations around the authentication of payments and financial transactions, as well as data privacy. The European Banking Authority approved keystroke dynamics and other behavioral biometrics as a factor for Strong Customer Authentication under PSD2 in 2018.

Keystroke dynamics make up the basis of what Popa and Tamas sometimes refer to as “typing biometrics,” and in TypingDNA’s mobile technology are combined with other behavioral factors, such as how the user holds the device. Keystroke dynamics are forecast by Allied Market Research to make up a $750 million market by 2025, and TypingDNA is positioning itself to provide leading technology through an API which is intended to make it easy for developers to fit its passive, continuous, and adaptive authentication into as wide a range of applications as possible.

“We’re building the value proposition based on the fact that we have a cloud typing biometrics authentication solution that you can put together with other things that you have, a risk engine or a data system,” Popa explains. “Not everybody is going to want a third-party service but I think a big piece of the pie is going to be companies that do.”

The technology’s early adopters tended to be financial services companies, some of whom have even tried to build behavioral biometric algorithms in-house. Popa compares this to the many proprietary blogging platforms rolled out by tech and online companies about ten years ago.

As early adopters, they have almost by definition done more research or internal experimentation, Tamas explains, having identified the problem and put resources into fixing it. But the problem is becoming less about fraud, and more about other factors.

“They don’t really care about fraud that much because it’s more about how to be compliant with this new regulation that requires two-factor; it’s mandatory,” Tamas points out. “That will usually add some friction. So, it’s starting to move from early adopter companies to, say, the early majority.”

Typing analysis and behavioral biometrics help solve the friction problem as well.

Behavioral biometrics, and keystroke dynamics in particular, are still new enough that many organizations are not even aware of the technology or its potential benefits, so the market is very mixed, according to Popa.

“I think the majority is adding traditional factors, which are adding a lot of friction, and now they’re scratching their heads thinking of figure out how to minimize churn and users who are looking to switch to other services and platforms, reducing their profits,” he asserts. “All the sudden a security problem became a product problem or a business problem, so everybody up to the C-level are now concerned about this.”

In addition to interest it has received from the educational and enterprise sectors, TypingDNA expects its developer-focussed strategy to result in applications in areas where tech use is prominent or expanding, like healthcare, and even areas the company itself cannot now imagine.

“We want to have an approach that’s more bottom-up,” Tamas says. “Our API’s really accessible, the documentation is publicly available, and we offer free accounts, so we see a lot of interest from developers with enterprises – and not just with enterprises – who have different use cases in mind and come from different verticals.” He thinks a whole new range of applications will integrate behavioral biometrics over the next five to ten years.

The APIs give developers flexibility, and allow the technology to be layered into practically any application that requires user recognition and could benefit from passive, continuous, and adaptive authentication.

Since the company launched its first algorithm in 2016, which provided text-independent typing dynamics recognition based on 140 characters typed on a physical keyboard, the technology has been significantly expanded. The next algorithm analyzed the typing of a certain set of characters to allow an accurate match with a much smaller sample size. Mobile capabilities and support for native applications were added, along with algorithms to take advantage of the other sensors built into smartphones for other behavioral biometric data, such as how the device is held.

The company has consulted with partners to improve the integration experience, and launched a multi-factor authentication tool to combine typing biometrics with factors such as SMS or email OTP.

Tamas and Popa are both excited for live demonstration opportunities coming up, as a chance to let people experience a technology which is interesting when described in abstract, but much more impressive live.

“We had this insight that whenever we show the demo in person to somebody, they become really excited about what we’re doing,” Popa says.

TypingDNA will demonstrate its behavioral biometric technologies on a range of desktop, laptop, and mobile devices at RSA from February 24 to 28, so check out booth 4409 to see for yourself how fast and effective typing biometrics are, and how they can work for you.

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