Identity proofing allows easy virtual ID checks

Issue 5 2022 Access Control & Identity Management, Security Services & Risk Management

The pandemic saw virtual identity checks become the norm. But not all identity proofing methods are created equal; some of the mainstream options fall far short of best-practice guidelines. By choosing the right methodology and technology, CIOs and security and risk leaders can build an authentication solution that maximises security and provides a frictionless customer experience.

In a world where data breaches occur every other day, there are thousands of terabytes of personal information in the hands of the wrong people, making identity spoofing one of the biggest security challenges today.

When it comes to onboarding customers signing up for new bank accounts, loan finance applications or insurance policies, having secure ways of verifying applicants’ identities is critical. The old ways of conducting identity checks, which rely on the usual name, address and ID number, can no longer be viewed as adequate given the amount of new account fraud that occurs via identity spoofing.

Leveraging stronger solutions that layer risk and trust signals such as device ID, behavioural analytics and location signals, security can be bolstered. However, even these methods do not always offer a sufficiently robust security response.

“Solutions that rely on multiple data points like ID number, name, as well as behavioural data, are more secure than solutions that only rely on a name, address and ID number, but they are still not sufficient. Creating a synthetic ID is so easy nowadays that anyone can learn how to do it online. The most secure approach to identity proofing relies on comparing a presented ID document against a government database. But in cases and countries where such databases don’t exist, the next best option would be what experts refer to as ‘document-centric identity proofing’, or the ID+selfie process. In this case, a picture of a photo ID document is compared with a selfie using liveness detection,” says Gerhard Oosthuizen, chief technology officer at Entersekt.

Proof of life is not as hard as it once was

Oosthuizen explains that the reason why document-centric identity proofing is working so well is because it can rely on sophisticated technology to assist with the verification process and help protect against ID spoofing.

“We already have the iBeta ISO 30107-3 standard which prescribes the recommended methods to test biometric authentication and measure the effectiveness of liveness detection. This can be achieved in various ways, such as bouncing different-coloured lights onto the person when taking the photo. Based on the feedback, the software can detect if the photo is of a living person. And, while some vendors will rely on AI to run the checks, many still have call centres where checks can be escalated to human assessors, adding an additional layer of verification,” he explains.

Oosthuizen explains that this technology is also of particular relevance to organisations that don’t have access to central identity databases.

“Using a selfie with an ID document is a self-contained system. By lifting the picture in the ID document and comparing it to the live picture of the selfie, relying on a central governmental database is not required. Since many countries don’t have such databases in place, it’s not surprising that this technology is getting real traction from many banks that are using the capability as part of their onboarding and recovery processes,” he says.

Oosthuizen says companies can use identity proofing as a way to take their first real step towards a passwordless future, especially if it is part of an integrated authentication solution.

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