Security & Fraud

When Authentication Is Just A Heartbeat Away

Biometrics are FinTech’s BFF. But Karl Martin, Nymi founder and CTO, says that the only truly reliable biometric is the heartbeat, since, among other things, it says that the consumer is alive. In this issue of the Digital Identity Tracker, Martin makes his case about how authentication is only a heartbeat away. That and the latest rankings of more than 65 players in the digital identity space await.

Anyone working for any company knows the drill. A physical access card to gain entry to the building. Passwords to log onto databases throughout the day, often repeatedly to comply with organizational protocols. The process can be annoying — not to mention not exactly secure.

There are biometrics for that — such as fingerprints and retinal scans — and they have their pros and cons, as well as their cost considerations. But what if a wearable device could use unique biometric indicators, like a person’s heartbeat, to continuously authenticate the user wearing it and enable access to any number of access points?

That’s Nymi’s business, and it does it by using a wristband that detects the human heartbeat as part of a two-factor authentication system designed to prove, with certainty, that the person “checking in” is, in fact, the person checking in.

In the latest Digital Identity Tracker™, PYMNTS spoke with Karl Martin, the company’s founder and CTO, about the underlying authentication technology and the future of digital security.

Here’s a preview:

While no security system is impenetrable, Martin cautioned, Nymi’s protections, including secure pairing and communication, owner identity confirmation and digital signing, and random key generation and storage have kept bad actors from invading its servers thus far.

“We’ve had thousands of users so far, and those have been a variety of different use cases,” he said. “I can say that, using our system, there have been no known security breaches.”

Martin acknowledged that, for many employers, security goes hand-in-hand with convenience. Any solution that beefs up security needs to do so without hampering the productivity of employees operating in busy business settings. He said that wearable biometric authentication devices not only reduce frustrations of workers sick of having to constantly re-enter passwords but actually boost output in many offices.

“It’s always about the convenience side and the security side,” he said. “The core is around not demanding employees to do something many times a day. Productivity goes up because the employees are just able to walk around with their wristband and not do anything else to log in.”

Around The Digital Identity World

Around the digital identity space, major players looked to move away from usernames and passwords with new methods of security, including biometrics. Several firms rolled out new biometric security solutions over the past month, designed to offer more convenience and protection than conventional methods.

Biomatiques, for one, announced it would bring the first retina recognition product from India to National Insurance under the terms of a new partnership. Meanwhile, biometrics are also having an impact in Africa, where the Democratic Republic of Congo announced that Gemalto would provide more than 20,000 mobile biometric voter enrollment kits to help quickly and securely register voters in advance of elections later this year.

It was also a busy biometrics month for U.S.-based CardinalCommerce, as the company announced 12 new patents from five different nations that indicate its plan to develop new security technologies.

To download the August edition of the Digital Identity Tracker™, powered by Socure, click the button below.

August Digital ID download button

 About The Tracker:

The PYMNTS.com Digital Identity Tracker™, powered by Socure, is a forum for framing and addressing key issues and trends facing the entities charged with efficiently and securely identifying and granting permission to individuals to access, purchase, transact or otherwise confirm their identity.


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