By Jeffrey Green (@epaymentsguy)
Advocates looking to see an end to the use of usernames and passwords for authentication purposes won’t have to wait long into 2014 to see support for their cause. Various members of the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance will be demonstrating FIDO Ready-certified products coming to market at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas January 7 to 10. The alliance announced the new FIDO Ready certification program on December 19.
The FIDO Alliance formed in July 2012 and officially launched in February 2013 with the goal of addressing “the lack of interoperability among strong authentication devices as well as the problems users face with creating and remembering multiple usernames and passwords.” Its authentication is designed to help online, mobile and point-of-sale (POS) application users to access and confirm transactions more simply and securely.
Discover Financial Services last week became one of most recent of the alliance’s more than 50 members.
In November, French standards-setting body Natural Security announced the formation of an alliance dedicated to collaborative creation of secure wireless biometric authentication and payment solutions. The organization plans to license manufacturers that use the standard it creates, and it hopes to build a global interoperability strategy that includes tests and certification processes for the standard.
FIDO and Natural Security share some common members and goals, though FIDO is not exclusively about addressing biometric authentication. In any case, the efforts of both organizations, and their members, suggest changes will occur fairly quickly in how consumers authenticate themselves when accessing computers, smartphones, applications, online services and other functions. Demand is strong, as consumers are becoming careless in their use of usernames and passwords, as trying to remember the ever-growing ones required in today’s digital marketplace is becoming increasingly difficult.
Biometrics is just one method touted as an alternative to username and password use, but it’s not entirely reliable, as PYMNTS.com recently highlighted in a research report “Simplifying Online Checkout: Are Biometric-Enabled Smartphones the Answer?” The report notes that while passwords may go away, the use of a second authentication factor, such as a username or personal identification number, will remain necessary for the foreseeable future.
Here’s a sampling of the FIDO Ready solutions that FIDO Alliance says will be featured at CES:
Agnitio Voice ID: Uses one’s voice to replace the need for passwords and PINs in smartphones to authenticate access to devices and applications, as well as secure digital transactions.
Go-Trust FIDO microSD: Designed to work with 99 percent of existing laptops and personal computers, plus the 1 billion Google Android devices in the market. Expected soon to be available at popular online merchants, such as eBay and Amazon.
PrivacQ Triangle: A collaborative effort of FingerQ and Synaptics, the service uses the portable Validity “Natural ID” fingerprint sensor to enable users to adapt their laptops and legacy devices with a small, portable fingerprint biometric.
Some companies also are working to incorporate FIDO Ready authentication into their products. Among those featured at CES include:
EgisTec’s Yukey-eFIDO: Provides universal fingerprint authentication for securely logging on to Web applications, including e-commerce, mobile payments and wallets. EgisTec, a fingerprint sensor technology company, leveraged hardware prototyping and software development to prepare Yukey-eFIDO for global markets.
CrucialTec’s BTP Aero Mouse: A remote control with an embedded fingerprint scanner designed to enhance security and simplify payments initiated on TVs.
Sonovation AxisKey: An ultrasound biometric key fob designed to consumers’ personal and workplace accounts, online identities and transactions with the swipe of a finger. Built around Sonovation’s patented ultrasound impediography senor platform.
For more of Jeff Green’s commentary, including recent articles addressing security and fraud, visit his author page here.