FaceBanx offers multi-modal biometrics for online auth
No username, no password. Simply look into a web cam, repeat a few random digits and you can access a site or are authorized to make a transaction. This is the model proposed by FaceBanx and in trial at several leading companies, says Steve Cook, director of business development at the company.
To enroll, clients use their web cam to take a photo and then repeat a random string of four numbers – “1234” – four times. For every subsequent login, the client uses the camera to take another photo and repeat only once the four digits that appear in the screen.
The system then conducts a one-to-many search against the face templates enrolled in a database and authenticates the actual identity with the voice, Cook explains.
I played guinea pig, taking part in the demo enrollment and login system available on the Facebanx web site. Enrollment was simple, requiring only the web cam and microphone on my computer, features that are pretty standard these days.
In subsequent test logins, the system was easy to use and accurately authenticated me while refusing to authenticate several friends and family members posing as me.
According to Cook, one of the initial trials involves a telecom firm seeking to free its customers from passwords and save money by eliminating password reset calls. Other trials are expected to commence soon, including a multi-national bank that hopes to improve security of its customer accounts and reduce the opportunity for criminal access.
Facebanx was founded two years ago to provide video chat software. One of its early clients, an insurance customer, wanted facial recognition added to spot potential fraud, Cook explains. Thus was born the authentication solution, which has since moved to retail, gaming, financial services and other sectors.
Password reset is another common application. Instead of having to wait on hold and be asked security questions a company could deploy FaceBanx to streamline the process, says Cook. Customers would be enrolled when opening an account and then could use the system when and if needed in the future.
Financial services companies in the European Union are also taking a hard look at the solution, he says. A new anti-money laundering law goes into effect soon, and financial institutions need to go to greater lengths to know their customers.
Facebanx is a member of the FIDO Alliance (Fast Identity Online), an organization of more than 100 biometric and tech companies including PayPal, Google and MasterCard, working to redefine online authentication with standards-based, open specifications for overcoming password dependency.