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Banks lack experience to deliver biometrics

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A report from Mastercard and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford highlights that only 36% of banks feel they have adequate security measures in place to provide proper biometric authentication.

People unlock their phone and, increasingly, shop and pay with the touch of their finger. They don’t get locked out when they forget a password because it has been replaced with a simpler, more secure option – mobile biometrics.  Whether using a fingerprint, an iris scan or a selfie to confirm identity, banks see biometric technology as a way to provide greater convenience and security to customers as they use their accounts.

But, it’s still early days in mobile biometrics, and a new report from Mastercard and the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford highlights a big barrier. Only 36% of relevant banking executives feel they have adequate experience to deliver.

To overcome this knowledge gap, the report, titled “Mobile Biometrics in Financial Services: A Five Factor Framework”, explores this fast-evolving technology landscape and provides bank executives with guidelines to successfully bring mobile biometrics to life. Simply put, they need to focus on Performance, Usability, Interoperability, Security and Privacy.

Some of these factors are more visible to the consumer, having a real impact on user experience, while others operate behind the scenes. But, long-term success for a bank requires that they address all factors equally to protect against threats. The framework can help financial service companies avoid the trap of focusing only on the ones their customers see.

“Biometric authentication has a lot of potential, but it is important to address the objectives of each of the Five Factors when designing solutions. Working together with Mastercard enables us to solve for realistic threats to the industry with the best technical and scientific ideas. Users will need consistency, quality and assured security for this technology to thrive,” said Professor Ivan Martinovic, Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

Ajay Bhalla, president, Global Enterprise Risk & Security, Mastercard, commented on the research initiative in a blog post, saying:

“Effective mobile biometrics melt into the broader experience of consumer-centric financial services, giving people the power to instantly access their financial information or make a payment. They’re driving the trend toward a password-free future where digital identity is all about who we are, not what we remember.”

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Considering that global sales of smartphones are expected to reach $400 billion by next year, people everywhere will increasingly have access to the tool that makes mobile biometrics possible. Banks see that as an opportunity, and with initiatives like the collaboration with the University of Oxford and pioneering biometrics solutions like Mastercard Identity Check Mobile, Mastercard is a partner to deliver widespread and responsible adoption of mobile biometric solutions in financial services.

As Bhalla continued, “This framework is fundamental to accelerating the deployment of mobile biometrics for consumers and industry alike, but collaboration is key. We can only achieve this if industry, academia, governments and technology vendors understand and contribute to the evolution of the Five Factor Framework for mobile biometrics.”

“Mastercard and Oxford have done important work in exposing some of the root causes for the inconsistent adoption of mobile biometrics in financial services,” said Ravin Sanjith, Program Director: Intelligent Authentication, Opus Research. “We expect the Five Factor Framework to become an indispensable aide for industry professionals and decision makers to have better informed, strategic discussions that drive towards more efficient and successful high-scale implementations.”

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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