Biometric technologies in the banking industry

8 Apr 2016

Biometric technologies for authentication have become the de facto standard in access control. In the banking industry, the application of biometric technologies is extending almost daily and has already gone beyond use only with access control systems.

Biometric technologies for authentication have become the de facto standard in access control. In the banking industry, the application of biometric technologies is extending almost daily and has already gone beyond use only with access control systems.In 2004, the largest banks in Japan, such as Ogaki Kyoritsu Bank, Suruga Bank, the Hiroshima Bank, and the Bank of IKEDA, implemented a new biometric authentication technology to confirm transactions by debit/credit cards at ATMs. The new system allowed these banks to increase security levels and improve comfort for clients when accessing personal accounts even when they are not carrying their card. Increased interest in this technology has been generated by the need for reliable access control systems that are available even during natural disasters and catastrophes.

TECHNOLOGY

The palm vein authentication method works by detecting light reflected from a person’s hand in the near-infrared spectrum, at a wavelength of 760 nm. Because hemoglobin in the blood absorbs infrared light, the venous vessels reflect less light, which then show up as dark patterns. The resulting pattern forms a unique diagram that can be elaborated using a mathematical method and the output written into a template. Next, the template is compared to a sample in the template database (in the case of 1:N identification) or patterns are compared in pairs (in the 1:1 verification mode).What are the advantages of the palm vein technology compared to the already well-known fingerprint, face, or even iris authentication methods?
  • Non-intrusive technology; no direct contact between the user and the scanner
  • Forging is virtually impossible
  • Identity can be verified whether palms are wet or dry
  • Extremely high accuracy
  • High reliability in both the technology and the construction of the terminals
SOLUTIONS


CONFIRMING IDENTITY OF CLIENTS
When opening a bank account, a client signs an agreement permitting the use of her biometric data. After that, the client’s palms — and palms of trusted persons if needed — are scanned. The digital templates of the individual’s palms obtained during scanning are saved into the bank’s electronic database. Biometric data is scanned using a desktop USB scanner, installed at the bank.The digital templates cannot be transformed to the original images of the palm vein patterns, and thus, they cannot be used outside of the IT system. Biometric authentication of the clients could be used for confirmation of financial operations, such as money withdrawals, wire transfers, and access to confidential account information.

This solution also provides good guarantees of security:
  • Excludes possibility of unauthorized access to a client’s account
  • Enables serving central office clients at any local office without additional requests for power of attorney
  • Reliably confirms identity when accessing online banking and performing financial operations.
BIOMETRIC ACCESS FOR SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES
Traditional access control systems for safe deposit boxes, based on keys or cards, do not provide a reliable confirmation of identity of the person accessing the deposit box. There is always a possibility that someone, even a bank employee, could create a duplicate key and pass it to an intruder willfully or under compulsion.With biometric authentication, we can always be sure that the person accessing the safe deposit box is the owner. With the PV-WTC palm vein terminal, it is now possible to control safe deposit boxes using biometrics.
The system consists of the BioSmart Studio v5 software, which is installed onto the tellers’ computers. When a client decides to rent a safe deposit box, one of the tellers prepares an agreement and enters the client’s data into the system. After confirmation of the operation, the bank’s Account Manager or an Administrator scans the client’s palms into the system and a safe deposit box is assigned. Now, to open her box, the client just dials its number on the terminal at the vault with the boxes and puts her palm on the hand guide of the terminal. After successful identification, access to the box is granted.We have also developed a set of standards to deliver employee-level security. All operations are separated, confirmed, and traced, and all modifications and assignments of boxes must be confirmed by the client or by a manager.The operation is performed under constant control while monitoring the system’s integrity and the deposit boxes sensors. The system is also monitored for any attempt to break into it. In the case of any anomalous situation, alarm events are generated and emergency services (security guards or police) are informed.

The main advantages of these authentication systems, beyond the special indicator of security and reliability when using the palm vein biometric technology, include:
  • Access only for registered employees and clientsIntegration with any existing security system
  • Real-time monitoring
  • Automatic control of deposit box rental periods
  • Control of access using time schedules
  • Automatic event and alarm logging

LIMITING ACCESS TO IT RESOURCES

Every day, each bank accesses IT resources that secure confidential and private information hundreds, if not thousands of times. Traditional passwords and electronic keys do not provide the required level of security, because there is always a threat that the key might be transferred to an unauthorized person without the necessary access rights. Also, passwords are often stored in a desk drawer or written on a Post-It note next to the computer.The only unique identifier that allows identity to be matched in the system to a physical person is a biometric one.The principles of operation of the system are as follows. To log in to Windows or obtain access to confidential information, the user puts her hand on the USB palm vein scanner. Biometric data is read and translated by special software on the PC. The person is allowed to log in after successful authentication of identity. Oftentimes, software is integrated with an Active Directory, which allows various access scenarios.It is also possible to have shared access using USB tokens or smart cards. In the latter case, the biometric templates are stored directly in the token or card memory. In this case, the user’s access is not limited to one computer. First, the user scans her card or USB token and then his palm. Biometric data is read from the memory of the electronic storage and compared with the obtained template. This mode allows increased levels of security while the user capacity of the system becomes almost unlimited.

This solution has the following advantages compared to traditional access control systems:
  • Excludes unauthorized access to confidential IT resources
  • Eliminates the need to save passwords
  • Reduces costs for administration and maintenance of the system (for example, no need to restore lost passwords)
  • Provides fast and convenient access to IT resources
  • Includes multiple operating modes (palm, login + palm, smart card + palm, USB token + palm)
BIOMETRIC ACCESS CONTROL AND TIME ATTENDANCE SYSTEMS
Certainly we can’t overlook the most common uses of biometrics. Biometric systems based on palm vein authentication can be used to organize access control, monitor movements of employees within a facility, and limit access for visitors. Access can be controlled to the most protected areas within a bank: cash desks, deposit facilities, vaults, and server rooms.Biometric access control systems allow banks to manage applications of any size and complexity, from local (one door) to networked systems (entire building), and organize access to restricted sites using two-factor authentication (card + palm) or even three-factor authentication (PIN + card + palm). In this case, the major functions of the system include:
  • Authentication using palm vein and/or RFID cards
  • Access only for registered employees and visitors
  • Management of access control devices (locks, turnstiles), including gateways
  • Generation of alarm signals in case of unauthorized access
  • Event loggingReal-time event monitoring
  • Multiple access modes: palm or card, card + palm
In regards to time attendance, the palm vein authentication provides a biometric method that works for almost any employee, accepting and successfully recognizing people of any age and any profession. This, certainly, provides this technology an advantage compared to other biometric technologies that are oftentimes limited in that dimension. Monitoring of attendance is done via the BioSmart Studio v5 software that has all the required functionality, including management of shifts, holidays, visitor passes, has integration with CCTV cameras, live monitoring, and a profound system of reporting. What is great is that the Studio’s functionality is limited only by your imagination. If you are looking for a special function that you can’t find anywhere else, we can add it for you.Authentication technologies are under constant development. In the future, we will likely see other biometric authentication technologies. However, palm vein authentication is currently recognized as the most convenient and reliable technology for security applications within the banking sector.

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