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Behavioural biometrics security system trialled by UK bank

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Behavioural biometrics security system trialled by UK bank

November 2016

A 'behavioural biometrics' system aimed at providing constant authentication for the duration of an online banking session, has been trialled by UK bank Natwest.

The system, which has been created with Israeli cybersecurity company BioCatch, has been rolled out at Natwest banks since the start of this year within Coutts, taking into account a number of business customers. Personal banking customers look set to receive the technology through a pilot version at some point next year, the bank confirmed.

The technology makes use of over 500 patterns of behaviour in order to identify that the user is who they say they are and works to stop fraudulent activity resulting from automated attacks and unauthorised log-ins. It aims to do away with passwords and other authentication dongles for online activities including banking and shopping, replacing them instead with a new system that recognises individuals by their physical usage of a computer or tablet.

Some of the behavioural traits being made use of include hand-eye coordination, finger pressure on the keys, navigation style, scrolling, hand tremors and other finger movements, all of which are closely monitored in order to allow the bank to create a user profile that is unique to the individual customer.

It is hoped that the new technology will be capable of picking up any anomalies in user behaviour as soon as a user logs on and for the entire duration that they are accessing online banking. Any unauthorised users, malware and any account takeover bids will all be picked up, therefore improving security for online banking customers dramatically, the bank said.

Natwest's Simon McNamara confirmed that the new biometrics system has so far played a “crucial role in strengthening our security systems”, ensuring that Natwest has been saved from numerous fraudulent acts including bids to move funds between accounts, remote access trojans and multiple mobile fraud attempts.

Indeed, Mr Mcnamara added: "The breadth of behavioural biometrics that BioCatch technology can monitor is really impressive and we've already seen many examples of it alerting us to suspicious activity and protecting our customers from fraud."

The credit card unit of another bank, Israel's Bank Leumi, is also switching to similar technology that makes use of behavioural biometrics rather than passwords on its mobile app, suggesting that this form of online security could well be adopted globally in the future.

Ohad Maimon, EVP, business development and strategy, Leumi Card, said: "This is an international breakthrough that enhances user experience while solving the known problem of poor conversion in financial apps, due to the need for complex passwords."

Leumi Card has confirmed it will roll out the new technology to its customers over the next few months, having run a successful trial over the last few months.


Ploughshare has significant video face recognition developments and is looking for interested parties to license the technology

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