Security Firms Unveil On-Demand Biometric Authentication System

Biometric security providerUPEK announced onMonday a partnership with Internet security firmPay By Touch to bring an integrated biometric security service called “TrueMe” to online transactions.

UPEK makes a fingerprint reader that is preinstalled in some laptops and is also available on separate USB fingerprint sensors. When activated, laptop owners have to press their fingertips onto the reader device in order to boot the computer or access a corporate network.

Pay By Touch offers a payment and identification service that gives consumers a secure way to identify themselves and make purchases on the Internet. That service is restricted to use from a secured computer terminal and retail locations.

The joint business service by UPEK and Pay By Touch will offer computer users integrated on-demand biometric authentication on the Internet. Under the terms of the partnership, Pay By Touch will certify UPEK sensors that are already embedded in laptops and in USB devices. Pay By Touch will also offer a TrueMe-branded and certified USB finger sensor for users that do not have sensors built-in to their PCs.

“The new service takes the concept of a token and integrates it into biometric authentication, using new hardware and software technology for remote authentication for the first time on the Internet,” Greg Goelz, vice president of marketing for UPEK, told the E-Commerce Times.

Expands Security

The TrueMe technology brings authentication services to individuals instead of limiting the process to a specific machine, said Goelz.

“This will have a huge advantage to e-commerce on the Internet,” he added.

The new on-demand service, which targets both individuals and businesses, will free Internet users from setting up separate passwords for different purposes.

“With TrueMe, a simple touch of the finger gives chief security officers the security they demand while giving users the simplicity they desire,” said Jon Siegal, executive vice president of Pay By Touch.

The new technology will put individual and corporate authentication on a higher security level, said UPEK.

“The same level of hardware-based security and convenience UPEK provides to millions of users for their personal and business computers can now be extended over the Internet by creating a trusted path between businesses and their customers,” noted President and CEO Alan Kramer.

How TrueMe Works

To sign on to a TrueMe-enabled system, a user touches a TrueMe certified finger sensor built into a computer or attached as a USB device. Information about the user’s fingerprint is encrypted inside the sensor and combined with the unique device ID before it is sent to the TrueMe authentication servers.

However, the user’s information is never exposed to the computer operating system or the public Internet. So identity theft is not an issue when the device or the computer are stolen.

The TrueMe authentication servers then decrypt the information, ensuring that the user is authorized to use the specified device. The user’s authenticated identity is sent through a secure connection to the Web site or service that the customer is trying to access.

Data Protection on PC

The same finger sensor used for online authentication can also be used to protect the data on the computer, the company said.

In addition, multiple users can share the same computer by registering their individual fingers on the TrueMe sensor without compromising security. With other security devices, sharing is nearly impossible, and local data protection is not addressed, UPEK maintained.

The innovative technology eliminates the risk factor for online merchants, Goelz pointed out. “It answers the question all online merchants ask, that is, ‘How do I know the true identity of my customer?’ For online merchants, it reduces risk and thus lowers the cost of doing business on the Internet.”

TrueMe will be available in late October. Pricing will be based on a per-user, per year basis.

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