Thieves and fraudsters want to get their hands on our cash and data. And these days they can attack us from all corners of the globe.
Financial fraud losses totalled £755m in the UK last year. Worldwide, the figure runs into billions –
according to a report on the BBC.
But there’s no one security measure that can keep us safe – we need to have layers of security.
And the challenge for financial service providers is that if they impose too many layers, we customers get annoyed.
We don’t want to spend ages answering secret security questions, keying in passcodes, or trying – and failing – to remember personal identification numbers and passwords.
So the race is on to develop frictionless, invisible security – ways of verifying we are who we claim to be – without holding up our day or taxing our fallible memories.
For example, voice biometrics – using our unique vocal patterns as a means of authentication – is certainly gaining acceptance amongst banks as its accuracy improves.
HSBC recently announced it would be rolling out the technology, along with Apple’s Touch ID fingerprint recognition, and Barclays already offers it to certain clients. Meanwhile, Atom Bank has launched “authentication by selfie”.
The UK’s Nationwide Building Society has just teamed up with tech partners BehavioSec and Unisys to develop a new layer of behavioural biometric security.
It is based on the idea that the way we interact with our devices is as unique as those physical biometric attributes – fingerprint, iris, face, voice, even the electrical activity of our heart – that we can now use to authenticate ourselves.
The way we type, touch, swipe and hold our smartphones can also apparently act like a signature.
These are very early days for the approach, however, so it is likely to act as another layer of security rather than a replacement for existing tech.
But its main advantage is that it is unobtrusive, potentially giving us more security without the usual inconvenience.