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Biometric enter payments

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Evolving biometric payment technologies could soon make it possible for one to pay for every transaction using nothing more than a quick scan of your fingerprint or iris, or even through a selfie, writes CHARLES PITTAWAY, Managing Director of Sage Pay.

Imagine a world where you never had to worry about having your bank card with you or remembering a long list of passwords and PIN codes. The time you’d save not having to dig in your handbag or pockets for some cash or a card to pay for your coffee.

You will not have to imagine for much longer. Fast evolving biometric payment technologies could soon make it possible for you to pay for every transaction using nothing more than what you were born with. Just a quick scan of your fingerprint or iris, or even a selfie. Our research shows that consumer appetite for new payments technology has never been stronger, so the time for biometrics may soon be at hand.

This year’s Sage Payments Landscape Report found that an overwhelming majority of consumers in the UK, US and South Africa (96% in South Africa) claim it’s important for businesses to offer customers a diverse range of payment methods. Most say they would be more likely to shop somewhere that offered them multiple ways to pay.

Hungry for change

The proliferation of mobile payment technologies and their successful adoption by businesses and consumers has paved the way for biometrics. Ease of use is a major factor for user adoption, but what really makes the difference is security. The importance of security has increased over recent years following a number of high-profile attacks affecting consumers.

Security matters 

Biometric technology has the power to make payments quicker, easier and more secure than ever before. However, it may not be the solution some might hope. Resourceful criminals could lift finger prints from glass surfaces; they’ll no doubt come up with a number of hacks and exploits to circumvent biometric security.

It also takes time to change behaviours that have become ingrained. Many of us still use PIN numbers to unlock our phones rather than the fingerprint technology built into most smartphones. When it comes to security there is a lot to be said for familiarity and the reassurance it gives us.

We at Sage are giving business builders the power to control their businesses from the palm of their hand. They, in turn, are giving their customers new ways to pay from their smartphones and other convenient devices. Biometrics will be an important part of that landscape in the coming years.

However, I doubt that it will entirely replace existing technologies and behaviours. For now, I think biometric technology will act as a further security measure; support for existing payment protections that will get us all used to the idea. Then, who knows, we could be paying for our weekly groceries in the blink of an eye.

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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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