Benoit Grangé, OneSpan: Less Passwords, More Synthetic Identity Fraud in 2021 For Banks

This is part of an ongoing 2021 predictions series. We’ve asked top cyber experts to contribute their insights and expertise to provide a look ahead at what the new year may bring to cybersecurity.


Benoit Grangé, Chief Technology Evangelist, OneSpan:

  1. Synthetic identity fraud will increase in 2021. In the coming year, synthetic identity fraud will skyrocket, as bad actors continue to use stolen identities to open fake bank accounts. We will see more of this with the next wave of government stimulus. In fact, with more access to sensitive personal data, fraudsters have the power to perpetrate more digital fraud,

  2. There will be frequent hacks in voice-capturing devices. As more organizations and financial institutions use voice for authentication in 2021, we’ll likely see an increase in hacks in voice-capturing devices that have microphones to record users’ authentication information. This information will be particularly susceptible to attacks if used by financial institutions, as it may contain sensitive information such as account numbers, social security numbers, or other personal identifiable information.

  3. Facial recognition will drive the greatest changes to banking regulations: As banks increasingly use facial recognition technology for Identity Verification requirements, they are housing large amounts of consumer biometric data. Standards organizations such as the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Fast IDentity Online (FIDO) Alliance and are developing frameworks that could be adopted at the national level and would stipulate how banks protect and store their customers’ biometric data.

  4. The future of the banking - more AI, machine learning, biometrics and less passwords. A massive transformation is occurring across digital and mobile channels in how banks engage with their customers and use AI. Banks will combine machine learning with biometrics to provide new experiences, such as facial and fingerprint verification instead of passwords. One example we’re already seeing is banks leveraging machine learning to detect and read physical passports to allow for ID scanning. Customers use their smartphones to scan a government-issued ID and then take a selfie. The banks then leverage biometric facial comparison technologies with liveness detection to verify that ID is authentic and unaltered, confirming the individual’s identity.

  5. Digital Identity based on Self-sovereign identity leveraging blockchain will emerge. The development of a decentralized or self-sovereign identity will bring a complete evolution to the digital identity space. We’ll see the development of digital ID fully under the control of the user securely stored in mobile devices within digital wallet. The complete ecosystem available for both public and private sector will leverage Distributed ledger technology as source of trust. We will also see the development of a standard protocol for issuing, ordering and verifying digital identities. By combining blockchain technology with standardization that can be made by regulators, self-sovereign identities will become the future of what today is a physical identity document.

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