Liveness Detection in Today’s Security Landscape

April 20, 2023    |    4 minute read

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It’s no secret that today more and more of our personal information is being stored online. Naturally, this has led to a sharp rise in cyber-attacks and identity theft, specifically for banking and fintech sectors. Thankfully, there are measures you can take to protect yourself, your business, or your customers from these threats. One such measure is liveness detection, a core piece of biometrics. 

What is Liveness Detection?

Unlike facial recognition (which verifies a match utilizing an algorithm – much like Face ID on your smart phone), liveness detection confirms the live, physical presence of the user. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at what exactly liveness detection is, how it’s utilized in biometrics, and its importance in various industries. At its core, it involves determining whether a biometric sample is being submitted by a live person or a reproduction – and there are two categories:  

Active: Requires the user to perform an action that cannot be replicated with a fake sample (i.e. blink, smile, move their device during a facial recognition capture). 

Passive: Requiring no user interaction, this utilizes algorithms to analyze the image and indicate its content (including masks, cutouts, skin, texture, etc.). This occurs in the background, making it more difficult to circumvent. 

Biometric technology relies heavily on the concept of liveness – proving that the person being identified is physically present and authentic. With today’s advanced technology, however, it’s possible for fraudsters to create convincing simulations of human faces, compromising the security of biometric systems. To prevent this, biometrics must authenticate uniqueness in real-time, guaranteeing the security and integrity of the system. 

Liveness detection acts as a lie detector, flagging attempts to fool systems with fake faces (known as “spoof detection”), fingers or even voices for various applications, such as a new mobile banking account. When utilizing liveness detection with biometrics, the software can tell whether the sample is from a live human or a decoy. By confirming that you’re not just someone trying to game the system, this technology provides a valuable layer of security and ensures that only actual people with valid credentials can access secure areas or sensitive data. 

Biometrics in Action

This technology is particularly important in high-risk industries like Fintech security, healthcare, and defense, where identity authentication is critical. In 2021, incredible advancements in FBI-certified biometric technology arrived with the development of contactless mobile fingerprint scanners. These cutting-edge devices offer developers the ability to transform ordinary smart phones into precise and reliable biometric tools. 

 Elsewhere, companies like Hertz (which was the first of its kind to use biometrics) are utilizing facial biometrics to authenticate drivers virtually, allowing them to skip the line and speed up the process of renting a car. Harvard Business Review reported that platforms like Drivy (a car-sharing service), Sidehide (a hotel service app), and even Wholefoods have taken steps into utilizing biometrics to check in/out. 

What’s Next?

Solutions that pair biometrics with robust liveness detection will deliver on the promise of making things like mobile banking or online shipping more convenient and secure. Products like Knomi® provide advanced presentation attack detection algorithms, picking up on victim impersonation and identity concealment, among other features. By mitigating such risks, this innovative technology not only promotes the widespread adoption of biometric technology by consumers but also shields financial institutions from the repercussions of data breaches and financial losses. 

As we move further into a world that depends heavily on digital transactions and data storage, and our personal information is shared across multiple devices and systems, the value of liveness detection cannot be overstated. This technology protects against the threats of stolen identities and cyber-attacks by requiring live user authentication. Its flexible nature makes it applicable to a wide range of industries and processes, making sure that sensitive data is kept safe and secure. As this technology evolves, we can look forward to a future where our personal and financial security is stronger than ever before, ensuring a safer space in our increasingly digital world. 

Contact Aware for more information about biometric liveness detection and our Knomi® solution for mobile biometric onboarding and authentication to guarantee a more secure future in the realm of authentication and digital identity management. 

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