Authentication Alliances, Mobile Platforms and Smartphone Fingerprint Sensors – Mobile ID World Industry News Roundup: Dec 9-13

This week brought with it news that the Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance made a formidable addition to its board of directors with the joining of Microsoft. The Alliance, which was officially formed in February to fight for open standards for universal strong authentication has had a year filled with high-profile members – Google, BlackBerry and MasterCard to name a few – has been pontificating about the death of the password throughout 2013. Now that the company behind Windows and Xbox has taken a stand on the side of post-password security, there is even more anticipation for 2014: a year that promises to see the first FIDO-ready solutions reach the market.

The FIDO Alliance is not the only consortium out there in the war against passwords. Earlier this fall Natural Security formed it’s own alliance, focussed specifically on mobile authentication. The Natural Security Alliance is focussed on interoperability in the realm of strong mobile authentication, as well as educating users and enterprises about its benefits, and it launched with some overlapping FIDO members too (MasterCard and Oberthur Technologies). President of Mobile ID World, Peter O’Neill had a chance to speak with Natural Security CEO Cédric Hozanne about the new organization, as well as the company’s newly tested payment method.

The growing popularity of these organizations dedicated to creating standards for authentication comes from the increasingly pervasive idea that passwords are simply not enough to protect against fraud. Luckily, thanks to the benefits associated with BYOD, a number of enterprise and small business level applications are being made available to leverage current generation mobile biometric technology as a mobile device management (MDM) solution.

To this effect, BluStor has launched Secure Mobile Briefcase as a way to provide multi-factor security to smartphones and tablets via a bluetooth enabled card that handles template matching and acts as a proximity factor.

Finally, staying on topic of current generation smartphone biometrics, Fingerprint Cards AB (FPC) saw its biometric fingerprint sensors launched on three new Pantech devices in Korea. This was not the first time FPC shared similar news – the manufacturer can boast the inclusion of its sensors on a number of Pantech mobiles released throughout 2013, including the Vega Secret Note phablet and the Vega LTE-A smartphone.

The new smartphone launch, according to Pantech’s development team leader, is largely a result of the popularity of the Korean payment system Bartong. Using this as an example, it can be expected that as demand for biometrics on smartphones is stoked by novel end-user applications that can’t exist without strong authentication, we can expect to see a growing ubiquity of fingerprint recognizing phones.