Visa Aims for ‘Ambient Authentication’

Visa is moving gradually toward a future of “ambient authentication” for payments, reports International Business Times.Visa Aims for 'Ambient Authentication'

That means passive authentication mechanisms that will largely go unnoticed by the consumer — behavioral biometrics like how a user interacts with a keyboard or a screen, but also patterns related to how often and how long she charges a device, as well as more traditional biometric technologies like facial recognition, which can operate in the background while a user is looking at a smartphone screen. IBT quotes Visa Innovation and Strategic Partnerships SVP Bill Gajda as asserting that the company is looking to use such various technologies to enable “what we call ambient authentication” — that is, to ” move more towards risk based authentication, where we can use multiple factors that don’t involve direct participation of the buyer” in a given transaction.

It’s a similar approach to that being taken by Google, whose Advanced Technology and Projects team announced Project Abacus last year — an investigation into how facial recognition, behavioral biometrics, and metadata could be used to enable entirely passive user authentication on Android devices. While the ATAP team evidently did not succeed in replacing password-based security last year, its efforts are presumably ongoing as consumers continue to use their smartphones for more sensitive transactions.

Explaining the need for these more advanced authentication methods, Gajda referred to the emergence of new kinds of payment points such as those emerging with “chatbots on public platforms” — possibly a reference to Masterpass’s newly announced initiative that will enable food orders through Facebook Messenger. It’s part of a new frontier of digital commerce, one that demands new approaches to user authentication.

Source: International Business Times