Bank security – Barclays to offer vein-scanner to big accounts

Barclays Bank is to allow remote log-ons using a hi-tech vein-scanning biometric bank security system for large corporate accounts, according to Engineering and Technology magazine. The bank security system, using Hitachi’s VeinHD scanner, will be available to corporate customers from next year.

The bank security scanner uses infrared light to capture an image of the veins of the customer’s index finger, and compares this against a pattern stored on a smart card (similar to the cards used to store details for Chip and PIN transactions).

Biometric finger vein scanning technology for authenticating online banking transactions will be available to Barclays’ corporate customers from next year, according to Reuters.

Bank security: Scanner ‘requires live finger’

The Telegraph reports that the technology will be available to Barclays Corporate Banking clients from next year, and says that the bank emphasized that the biometric scanner was one of the most secure on the market.

The paper says that a bank spokesperson said that the finger to be scanned, “must be attached to a live human body in order for the veins in the finger to be authenticated”.

Engineering and Technology points out that a finger vein pattern is nearly impossible to fake, unlike other common biometric identifiers, where fakes are produced with relative ease.

Hackers have “fooled” the scanners in both Samsung’s Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5S with fake fingerprints made from latex.

‘About the highest security you can get’

“If it had any known issues we would never ask our clients to go down that path. The security in finger vein scanning is about the highest you can get and that’s why we feel so confident in it,”said Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays personal and corporate banking.

“Biometrics is the way to go in the future. We have no doubt about that, we are committed to it,” Ashwani.told Reuters in an interview. He said that fraudsters were constantly seeking new technologies to steal from the bank.

“You can’t let these guys create a breach in the dam. You’ve got to constantly stay ahead of the game.”

Barclays said it expected strong take-up for the technology from its 30,000 corporate clients.

Reuters describes the scanner as “looking like a mini Star Wars stormtroooper helmet”, and that the pattern is matched with one stored on a smart card, signaling the bank to send an encrypted authorization code to the PC.

TechCrunch points out that vein recognition technology is already used to secure high-value banking transactions in countries such as Japan, but only as a secondary “layer” of security where other methods of authentication are also used.

At 15 payment machines dotted around the Swedish city of Lund, people can buy items using a similar vein scanner, and without a debit or credit card.

Engineering graduate Frederik Leifland says, “I got the idea when I was in line at the supermarket and I saw how complex a process paying is. It takes a lot of time, so I thought there must be an easier and quicker way to pay and that was the start of Quixter.”

In a new interview with science website Humans Invent, Leifland explains how he hopes that his start-up may lead to payments without any authentication device. The pattern of veins in a human hand is unique – Leifland’s system uses infrared scans to identify the unique pattern in a finger.

BioMetrics sales site FindBiometrics says that the technology is relatively new, and currently used in high security institutions, saying, “Vein recognition is a fairly recent technological advance in the field of biometrics. It is used in hospitals, law enforcement, military facilities and other applications that require very high levels of security.”

Author , We Live Security

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