British Bank trials heartbeat based authentication

A British bank has been trialling a different type of biometrics, allowing their customers to confirm their identity via heartbeat according to the BBC.

In the trial, the Halifax bank, which has branches across the UK, will provide their customers with Nymi’s electronic wristbands that can identify a customer based on their heartbeat. The band identifies a user based purely on the unique electrical signals emitted from his or her heart.

A customer first has to record their heartbeat on a computer, and it is then stored on the wristband. Once the Nymi band is paired with a smartphone using the banking app and Bluetooth, the bank will be able to tell you are you you claim to be, thus bypassing the need for a password. The device is shut down as soon as it detects a different heartbeat, meaning another person can’t just wear it to access your account.

Speaking to the Guardian, a Halifax spokesperson claimed the electrocardiogram reading is superior to fingerprint or iris scans as it is a “vital signal of the body and as such, naturally provides strong protection against intrusions and falsification.”

“You could fake someone’s fingerprint, but you can’t fake someone’s heartbeat,” she added.

Nymi wristbands have previously been trailed by The Royal Bank of Canada, as reported by We Live Security here, but also has sensors that could be used for gesture recognition in future too.

The Nymi wristband isn’t the only option for people wanting a different take on personal security, though, as we wrote in our list of password alternatives.

Tupungato / Shutterstock.com

Author , ESET

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