Tech

Face off: Iproov’s facial verification system lets you prove who you are

Cyber security can feel like an intractable problem. Every day there seem to be new stories about hacking, scams, and financial fraud that target our reliance on digital tools and use them against us. Just this week, we had news of a spyware attack on Whatsapp.

And while cyber attacks are becoming more sophisticated, our defences remain worryingly basic. Despite several warnings by the industry, many of us still use weak passwords to control access to our email and banking accounts. Last month, the UKs National Cyber Security Centre revealed that 23.2m accounts around the world were protected by the password – wait for it – “123456”.

Steps are being taken to beef up protections. Many financial institutions are investing in biometric security, such as using fingerprints and asking customers to take selfies to prove who they are.

Read more: Humans arent just a mess of words and numbers – so why are our passwords?

But how can banks tell that these photos are genuine? Someone could use a picture stolen from social media, and if the bank instead asks for video footage of the customer, this can be forged using “deepfake” technology – a system that uses artificial intelligence to create fake video and audio recordings that are incredibly difficult to tell apart from the real thing.

So how can people better authenticate themselves online? Enter iProov, a tech company aiming to address this challenge using facial verification.

“The problem with facial recognition is ensuring that youre looking at a genuinely present person,” explains the companys founder and chief executive Andrew Bud. “Its all very well to recognise someones face, but you have to be sure that youre not looking at a deepfake video. Our patented verification technology is one of the only effective ways of doing it in the world.”

Andrew Bud, founder of iProov

iProov's system is straightforward to explain. Using the camera on someones handheld device, it takes a recording of a random sequence of coloured lights being shone on a users face. This footage is then analysed in the cloud to check that the light is bouncing off an actual three-dimensional face and not a mask or photo, and the colour sequence is used to ensure that the video is unique.

Read more: Cybersecurity: why youre right to be cautious

“The sequence of colours changes each time – its like a spectral timestamp. The colour sequence has to be right, and if its not, then were looking at a recording,” Bud adds.

The process takes just half a minute. A user can combine this with tapping their device against the data chip in their passport, and are thus able to prove their identity from anywhere in the world.

Bud, whose background in the mobile industry stretches back to the nineties, has been working on this technology since 2011, aiming to provide a system for strong access control that is also easy to use.

And the market is responding positively – iProovs system is already being adopted by major clients.

For instance, Dutch banking giant Rabobank is allowing customers to use it in order to open accounts and authenticate themselves without having to visit a branch.

Read more: Cyber attacks could cost UK economy £1bn per year

Meanwhile, the Home Office is using the technology with its EU Settled Status app: so far, 600,000 people have proven their identity remotely via iProov and gained permanent settled status.

Last year, the company was awarded a contract from the US Department of Homeland Security to make it easier for people to cross the US land border.

“The objective is for people to self-certify themselves, so that itll be enough for trusted travellers to use iProov to legaRead More – Source

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