2nd World Digital Banking Summit: Interview With The Chairman Steve Cook
1) Can you tell us more about your role in the biometrics and digital identity Industry?
I have been working in the biometrics industry for the past eight years, mainly assisting a number of software vendors providing digital identity services to financial institutions. I have also been advising investor groups too. The role of biometrics in authentication has become a vital part of the banking landscape due to the accessibility of smart devices in the market. Banks are keen to exploit these new fintech technologies in order to improve the relationships with their customers to create a more frictionless user experience and provide up to date digital banking services.
2) In an interview with Biometricupdate.com last year, you said, “The combination of mobile banking and biometric security in our smart devices will enable consumers to have more confidence regarding their personal security and will be far safer than it has ever been.” What advances have you seen with mobile banking and biometric security since then?
Biometric technology is improving every year, especially in terms of accuracy, matching and identification; from fingerprints to face, voice, iris and palm modalities. Other biometrics such as vein and heartbeat are also being considered. Fingerprint such as TouchID is still by far the most widely used amongst these existing technologies. However, due to the number of smartphones that already have cameras, both face and voice are gaining in popularity. However, it is important to note that there is a huge difference between facial recognition and face authentication where GDPR and obtaining consumer consent is concerned.
3) What are some of the latest digital banking innovations that you are seeing enter the market regarding EU regulations such as PSD2?
With the revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2); strong customer authentication (SCA) is a key part of the regulations which comes into effect on the 14th September 2019. This is crucial to all banking operations and payment service providers. Biometrics (something you are) within a two-factor authentication process under SCA will play a major role in the authorization and verification of payments, especially with regard to card not present transactions. However, the benefits are that as consumers get used to the idea that a selfie is just as reliable as a password or PIN code, the trust in these new methods will gain acceptance over time.
4) Younger generations are already using mobile devices for banking more than desktops or physical branches. What tips do you have for banks that are trying to show the value of mobile banking to their older clients?
Obviously, financial inclusion is paramount across the whole banking industry. The technical world is moving at a rapid pace and new consumer trends for replacing the dependency for passwords and PINs will drive a new customer experience all together. While passwords will still be with us for some time, there is a growing desire to move away from passwords which can be hacked or stolen. A number of high profile data breaches have shown us that in order to protect customer credentials and private data, better security methods are needed. Therefore, as well as new technology trends, it is more important than ever to educate all consumers about the risks of using weak passwords, potential scams and phishing attacks. It is not just the older generation who are susceptible to fraudsters but everyone can get easily caught out.
5) What are the key challenges associated with implementing biometrics in banking verticals?
There are many challenges facing the implementation of biometrics in banking, not least the issues of compliance and the standardization of so many different solutions available on the market today. However, a key aspect is how robust are they? It has long been known that biometrics has been subject to spoofing or presentation attacks, where AI or even Deep Fake can replicate an attack by a bad actor. True robust liveness detection has become a vital piece of the jigsaw to combat these kinds of threats. Criminals are exploiting these weaknesses in biometric systems. AI can fool most so called liveness checks such as smiling, blinking and head nodding, and bypass nearly all remote digital on-boarding processes. Therefore PAD (presentation attack detection) testing has become essential for any procurement process or vendor selection, and all biometrics vendors need to have certified proof that their systems cannot be broken. The biometrics industry is now addressing these issues and making sure that the security is just as important as the convenience in the user experience.
6) What do you expect from this year’s World Digital Banking Summit?
Essentially the Summit will be a platform for bringing together industry experts and speakers across the many different aspects of digital banking; from key regulation changes and compliance objectives to the latest digital trends that are affecting financial services. The event will provide plenty of opportunity for networking with peers and making new contacts. This is an outstanding opportunity to learn from experts and end-users in discovering the latest innovations.