Increasing rates of identity theft and related fraud is fuelling the demand for the application of biometric technology, specifically as e-verification tools for online and mobile banking.
According to experts within the identity management industry, aside from the inconvenience caused to consumers with having to continuously verify their identity, fraud can cost companies millions.

Marius Coetzee, MD at Ideco says mobile banking has come under the spotlight because of the risk that fraud poses to both businesses and individuals.

“Mobile service providers and device manufacturers are aware of the need for enhance security and applications,” he says.

Ideco is a leader in the application of biometric technology and Southern Africa’s primary distributor of Morpho fingerprint biometric solutions.

The company has entrenched its position with the rollout and integration of Sagem biometric solutions and other identity management infrastructure. Coetzee concurs with security technology experts who predict a surge in the convergence of biometric solutions with mobile devices.

“Consider the integrated of fingerprint scanning technology on Apple’s new iPhone 5. It is about empowering the consumer to help take control of their identity and make themselves less susceptible to attacks. Issues like account hacking and phising to solicit personal information and use this data to commit fraud are now top considerations,” he explains.

A fingerprint is unique because of all the positions where the raised ridges are either split or end. Advanced biometric readers are able to consistently and accurately recognise these points and assign a reference point to them.

These are referred to as minutia points and are shown by the blue symbols on the graphic below. These points are then accurately recorded by the fingerprint reader and stored as an algorithm or a piece of mathematical code known as the Template.

On average, a single fingerprint has between 80 and 100 of these minutia points. In a court of law, when a fingerprint expert presents a fingerprint as evidence the court expects a minimum of eight minutia points to correlate. Although the security levels are configurable, our fingerprint readers require 25 of these points to match for the purpose of authentication.

According to Ideco the convergence of biometric and mobile will pave the way for the eventual replacement of passwords, usernames and other more traditional forms of protection.

“Biometric-based e-verification is an accurate, easily integrated and managed infrastructure,” says Coetzee. “This is why it lends itself to the automatic, realtime and constant nature of mobile technology and telephony. A system that uses fingerprint, facial recognition or voice to verify individuals can add substantial value to industries like banking.”

However Ideco advises that consumers check and confirm if the biometric technology acquired is compliant with industry regulations and recognised by law enforcement agencies.