California-based PassMark Security has launched its online two-factor two-way authentication system in the UK.
UK banks are poised to agree a common industry standard for two-factor authentication of online transactions and are expected to begin rolling out authentication devices to online customers in the next nine to 12 months.
But PassMark says its authentication system requires no hardware tokens or software downloads. Customers are provided with a secret PassMark - a small image and a phrase - which is displayed during log in to a Web banking site. If the PassMark is correct customers will know the site is genuine and that it is safe to enter passwords.
The vendor has customised the system for the UK financial services market, adding features such as support for Chip and PIN cards for online transaction authentication.
Bill Harris, PassMark's chairman and founder, says the application allows institutions to provide strong security that is simple to deploy and easy to use: "It can be implemented for about the cost of a postage stamp per customer per year—far less than hardware-based alternatives."
The system also features the vendor's scoring algorithms which can determine risk levels for each online session as it happens. These risk levels are assessed by combining network and device forensics with behavioural analysis techniques. PassMark says scoring each online session provides a new tool to combat fraud and protect customers.
As part of its UK expansion, PassMark has recruited technology agency Geneva Partners to provide sales and marketing for the product across the country, while IT development and services provider Business Systems Group (BSG) will deliver the PassMark system as a fully managed service.