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#Identity Technology

Behavioral biometrics

Global Trends
6 Mins.

In this digital age, our identity is the most precious commodity we have. In what now seems like the Stone Age, confirming our identity was done through a password or PIN. Then biometrics arrived and we could unlock devices using our fingerprints and faces. Now behavioral biometrics is emerging as an extra factor in identity verification.

Can you type as fast as a 16-year-old on your smartphone touch keyboard? Or are you more of a one-finger typist?

Welcome to behavioral biometrics, where your regular physical movements, including keystrokes, how you use a keyboard, mouse or trackpad, and other behavioral identifiers are used to verify you in conjunction with other biometric methods, and prevent fraud before it happens.

The demand for more advanced methods of digital security to distinguish legitimate consumers from would-be fraudsters, developments in machine learning, artificial intelligence (AI), and cutting-edge big data, have led to the rise of behavioral biometrics.

Benefits of behavioral biometrics

Passwords, PINs, and traditional biometric verification methods, including face and fingerprint scanning, are static data. The benefit of implementing behavioral biometrics with other biometric methods is that it is dynamic, constantly analyzing personal behavior patterns.

These include everything from the angle at which a smartphone is held, swiping and typing speeds, fingertip size and pressure on the screen, mouse movement, and keystroke rhythm, to how hard the user bangs the keyboard, all without the need for scanning hardware.

Behavioral biometrics is frictionless. It help improve recognition as it passively authenticates users in the background, via smartphone sensors and code on websites, without interfering with the user experience.

This behaviour-based biometrics can be used as life recognition in face or fingerprint verification and provides another layer of security in multimodal biometrics.

“The developing technology has many potential applications for financial institutions from e-commerce and payments to online banking“

Behavioral biometrics data is stored, and a signature profile is created and used as a comparison tool, whenever a customer opens a website or app. Identification is extremely precise as a matrix of data points are used to continuously verify the user throughout their banking session. The developing technology has many potential applications for financial institutions, from e-commerce and payments to online banking.

Behavior-based biometrics provides another layer of security in multimodal biometrics

RBS and behavioral biometrics

The Royal Bank of Scotland was one of the early adopters of behavioral biometrics, testing the platform with its high net-worth clients, before implementing the platform for all customers in 2018.

An excellent example of the way that behavioral biometrics can help prevent attempted fraud was provided on an occasion when the bank became aware of a suspicious transaction. A fraudster had opened a new account and was attempting to transfer a seven-figure amount from an existing account.

The RBS system picked up that the fraudster was using the number keys on top of the keyboard while the genuine account holder used the numbers at the side of the keyboard. The fraudster also used the scroll wheel on the mouse to navigate the bank’s website, while the verified user navigated by dragging the mouse. The bank froze the account, thwarting the attempted fraud.

Improving customer experience

As with all new identity technology, behavioral biometrics could raise data privacy concerns. However, banking customers today demand increased security, with an easier, more personalized experience, and behavioral biometrics delivers exactly that. In combination with other biometrics, this is set to revolutionize many industries, including financial services.

Published: 20/05/2020

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