“Biometrics has been used over centuries, but the difference is that as technology gets more advanced, the identification process gets better. The dark world, however, also gets trickier to navigate, as it is becoming increasingly easy for hackers to attack,”

says Aarti Samani, Product and Marketing Director at iProov

Biometric ID could be the best access control technology across industries, where do you see the highest adoption of this technology currently?

In our experience, biometric technology is vastly adopted in public services – such as visa, immigration and national identity programmes, as well as other similar areas. In the private sector, it is used mainly in banking and payments. So, anywhere organisations require customers to make their journey frictionless for authentication; this is where biometric solutions are deployed heavily. So, for example, pretty much every private bank across the world is now looking at some form of biometric authentication technology if they have not yet implemented one. In Europe, a large number of banks have already implemented it, and they are widening or expanding the use cases and applications. Other areas like visa and immigration have deployed this technology heavily. Any country that offers long-term visas – 3 years to 5 years, typically collect the applicant’s biometric to authenticate them at the point of entry into the country. So, these areas have witnessed large scale adoption. We work with many different verticals, but the market is very strong in the ones mentioned above. Obviously, retail and other verticals are looking at similar solutions, but the significant inbound demand is generated from the verticals mentioned above.

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How do iProov leverage deep learning technologies and some amount of AI for delivering the most relevant biometric authentication solutions?

iProov focuses on detecting the actual presence of the user, so its authentication is not just about matching the user’s face to a legal document or photo ID. It is focused on ensuring that the face being matched is actually a real human face and not some spoof attack. There’s been a lot of news recently about deep fakes, so as technology develops, the art of digital impersonation is also growing at a rapid speed, whilst also becoming possible and straightforward on a large scale. iProov focuses on detecting the human face using passive authentication that checks the human presence. Human don’t need to do anything, the technology does everything. By default, the technology picks up certain cues on the face to detect that it is actually human. This uses technology that learns on an ongoing, continuous basis. So, the solution deploys deep convolutional neural network and computer vision technology, which uses machine learning algorithms. Thus, the idea is that more people can authenticate themselves. The person goes through the authentication process; the algorithm learns to understand the behaviour of the human face based on how the person’s features change over time or how they respond while looking at the screen. This is how iProov uses deep learning technology in our biometric product.

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How will these support remote ID management applications? What is the success rate for remote usage?

All the authentication that iProov does, focuses on remote users. Typically, identity checks require people to be present in a physical location where an officer can check IDs and faces matches. That is the traditional way to authenticate someone, but the paradigm shift is towards remotely handling biometric authentication, which has a higher level of assurance. This has a greater success rate and is even more reliable. With society transforming, crime is on the rise, and people have to assert their identity at every level – paying credit card bill, signing into online accounts, be they on Amazon or eBay, so user IDs or passwords alone aren’t enough. Users now need to assert that they actually possess the device, email ID and a contact number- through a one-time password. At the epicentre of this remote identity management technology is the question of asserting genuine human presence in real-time.

What would you rate as the top challenge that an enterprise can face in adopting biometric authentication solutions? How does iProov help mitigate it?

Biometric solutions are not new. In fact, people have been using them over the years in various ways like – voice, fingerprint, facial recognition. It has been used over centuries, but the difference is that as technology gets more advanced, the identification process gets better. But the dark world also gets trickier to navigate, as it is becoming increasingly easy for hackers to attack. Today, hackers not only attack one or two user bank accounts, they can easily attack an entire bank’s database, compromising the identities of thousands of users. The challenge for firms is to understand how to stop hackers from getting into the system, hacking the database or spoofing the biometric solution. Any vendor claiming that their system is completely secure and free from risks is lying. Firms need to be prepared to respond quickly to any such attack and resolve it promptly, minimising the risk or damage. The challenge that firms face is two-fold. First, how do they know that the individual is not compromised by somebody impersonating them or spoofing the biometric solution? Second, even if security is compromised, how quickly can the firm mitigate the risk and prevent it from spreading? Deepfakes are a perfect example of how easy it is for hackers to attack.

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iProov works with several governments to create biometric authentication applications. How do you think the security needs of a government organization differ from enterprise?

At a basic level, the challenge remains the same for both – to safeguard their user database. But, the significant difference lies in the user base size as the government user base would comprise the entire population of the country. So, in case of an attack, the risk of data compromise multiplies. The user base of a private enterprise is just a subset of the government user base. Also, the government entities are continuously under scrutiny by being in the public eye and that of the media too. Trust from citizens is the main element for all government organisations, so it’s the paramount responsibility of all government authorities to do as much they can to control or eliminate any underlying risk of security attacks. Since government organisations are under immense pressure, they scrutinise any solutions like the iProov deeply before implementing them. Government organisations have a number of restrictions in terms of where to do the testing or other sovereignty issues that private organisations would not face. Also, enterprises are becoming more aware and cautious about implementing security measures, doing all they can to mitigate associated risks.

“The challenge for firms is to understand how to stop hackers from getting into the system, hacking the database or spoofing the biometric solution.”

Aarti Samani, Product and Marketing Director at iProov

Aarti Samani is Product & Marketing Director at face biometric authentication start-up iProov who is responsible for driving growth through product innovation, partnerships and operational efficiencies. She has led product and commercial functions in multinational, as well as applied AI firms, across financial services, fast-growth consumer tech and healthcare.

Aarti’s work has ranged from managing technology transitions in capital markets to spearheading product development programmes, and launching text input solutions to revolutionising the way consumers in emerging markets interact with their smartphones.

She has most recently worked at SwiftKey (purchased by Microsoft) and Digital Surgery. Aarti holds a degree in Mathematics from the University of Durham.