Behavioral Biometrics: A Modern-Day Solution to Tackle Banking Frauds

By Srikanth
9 Min Read
Behavioral Biometrics: A Modern-Day Solution to Tackle Banking Frauds 1

Privacy and security are the two biggest challenges in today’s digital world. Furthermore, since the Internet and many social media platforms allow anonymity, tracking security threats becomes a difficult job. As a result, ascertaining and confirming digital identity becomes extremely important for governments across the globe to ensure cybersecurity of the state. Apart from the perspective of national security, accurate identification of a person is important in sectors such as finance and healthcare. In such cases, use of technologies which offer full-proof security becomes imperative. Behavioral biometrics is one of the latest technologies to be used for digital identification.

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Biometrics essentially refers to the use of physiological data of an individual for different purposes. Thus, physiological traits such as fingerprints, vein images, iris, face image, etc., are used for establishing a digital identity of an individual. Since physiological traits are unique for each individual, use of biometrics for authentication ensures a tamper-proof system. Behavioral biometrics is an upgrade of this technology. As opposed to physiological traits, behavioral biometrics make use of behavioral traits for authentication and pattern recognition.

Behavioral Biometrics for Banking

Behavioral biometrics is a rather new concept and is yet to be fully adopted by different sectors of the economy. However, one of the first industries to make use of behavioral biometrics is the financial sector, especially the banking industry. The increasing number of cyberattacks and identity frauds was the main reason why banks started adopting this advanced version of authentication technology.

Cybercriminals and hackers have, over the years, found flaws in normal authentication methods such as passwords and one-time passcodes. Furthermore, the use of personal details such as birthdays and phone numbers has also proved to be insufficient in ensuring the security of the bank accounts. The phishing and malware attacks have regularly thwarted the functioning of net banking and similar other online banking services. These hurdles have amplified the appeal of behavioral biometrics for the banking industry.

Behavioral biometric, just like regular biometrics, contains various parameters which are monitored and captured to ascertain the identity of an individual. These parameters can be clubbed into three types- body movements, voice inputs, and device-based gestures. Body movements include the posture of the individual, his/her gait, and the way the person holds a device. These parameters, as per psychologists, say a lot about the behavior of the individual. Hence, these parameters are captured by the biometric device. Secondary body movements that are recorded in some cases include stride length and movement speed.

In case of voice inputs, the vocal patterns such as frequency and pitch of the voice, the tone of the speaker, etc., are noted by the biometric device. However, the most interesting feature of behavioral biometrics is its reliance on device-based gestures. Device-based gestures include typing biometrics, signature analysis, and mouse dynamics.

Typing biometrics refers to recording the keyboard typing pattern of an individual. Similarly, mouse dynamics include capturing of the mouse scrolling and clicking patterns of the individual. Along with this, device-based gestures also include mobile interactions such as swiping, tapping, zooming, etc., which, as per experts, is unique for every individual. Even the pressure applied by fingers for these activities is different for each individual. Thus, captured collectively, these parameters provide a unique digital identity to the concerned individual.

Pilot projects focused on using these parameters for banking have yielded positive results. Identity fraud during account opening is one of the major problems faced by banks. By using behavioral biometrics and parameters like typing biometrics and mouse dynamics, banks have been able to detect frauds and identify the “bad” customers accurately. Similarly, behavioral biometrics have played a key role in account takeover protection. Behavioral parameters have precisely pointed out malware and phishing attacks before they occur in real-time.

Behavioral biometrics has been advantageous over normal biometrics in one more aspect. Normal biometrics offer protection only at the entry stage; once the user gains access to the website, there is no check during the session. Behavioral biometric offers authentication not just at the entry stage but throughout the entire session. This improves the security of the system significantly.

Mule account detection is another area where behavioral biometrics has proved to be beneficial. Mule accounts are those which are operated by the same individuals or organizations under different names for transferring illegal funds. Using behavioral pattern analysis, banks are able to detect such mule accounts and freeze the assets of such individuals or organizations.

Market Dynamics of the Behavioral Biometrics Industry

The potential applicability of behavioral biometrics is enormous. Many companies in the e-commerce industry and the healthcare sector are planning to adopt behavioral pattern analysis techniques for authentication. In fact, the global behavioral biometrics market has expanded to such an extent that it is generally analyzed across various industries including BFSI, public sector, retail, IT, healthcare, etc. Thus, increasing adoption of behavioral pattern analysis techniques by different sectors has been one of the major factors driving the market.

The emergence of advanced technologies such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and machine learning might create numerous growth opportunities for the market in the coming period. For instance, the increasing utilization of voice assistants such as Amazon Alexa, Siri, Google Assistant, etc., have popularized the use of voice recognition for security purposes.

These shifts in security domains are expected to create favorable conditions for the market in the near future. However, it has been seen that while large corporations have the capital and expertise to adopt these new technologies, small and medium-scale enterprises are yet to fully grasp the potential of these advancements. Naturally, upskilling of the workforce and heavy investments in R&D activities are needed so that such technologies can reach even the small businesses.

Growing number of digital transactions and online banking services are anticipated to help behavioral biometric technologies to achieve their fullest potential. Also, rising utilization of cloud technologies might boost the use of behavioral pattern analysis techniques. An interesting outcome of these trends is that the Asia-Pacific region is projected to be at the forefront in adoption of behavioral pattern analysis techniques. This is mainly on account of growing pace of industrialization and digitization in various countries of this region such as India, China, Japan, and South Korea.

Product launches by major companies may also strengthen the position of the market in the next few years. For instance, Appgate, a security solutions providing firm, announced in February 2022 that it was launching a behavioral pattern analysis service for fraud detection. The company released a statement following the launch which said that the service was designed to cater to the demand of the banking, healthcare, and retail sectors. Previously in March 2022, Plurilock had announced the launch of a similar service which garnered a lot of appreciation from the tech-experts.

The Way Ahead

Behavioral biometric is sure to rule the roost in the future as far as authentication and pattern analysis is concerned. However, as stated above there are certain impediments in the full-fledged use of these technologies. Hence, currently, many organizations and banks are using behavioral biometrics as a secondary tool in the two-step authentication processes.

Mergers, acquisitions, and partnerships between technology companies have also created a conducive environment for the behavioral biometrics industry. All in all, by introducing certain changes, influential stakeholders can help the market to bloom in the near future.

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