USAA to roll out voice and facial authentication for mobile log-in

USAA to roll out voice and facial authentication for mobile log-in

Texas-based USAA is to offer consumers the option of using voice and facial recognition technologies to log into their accounts over mobile devices.

The move extends the mobile app’s multifactor authentication options to include a unique PIN, face and voice recognition - all of which work in conjunction with a security code generated by the app for each login.

Gary McAlum, USAA’s chief security officer, says: “The use of multifactor authentication through biometrics is one of the most effective ways to increase security protection as traditional passwords become increasingly obsolete.”

USAA’s facial recognition requires users to look at the screen and, when prompted, blink their eyes. For voice recognition, users must read a short phrase. The nationwide roll out follows a successful pilot in California, Texas and Florida.

The new option will be available through an update to the USAA mobile app for iOS and Android devices.

McAlum says the financial services group also plans to test the use of fingerprint identification for future iterations of the app.

A report released today by Juniper Research forecasts that more than 770 million biometric authentication applications will be downloaded per annum by 2019, up from just six million this year and dramatically reducing dependence on alphanumeric passwords in the mobile phone market.

Meanwhile, research just published by Visa Europe indicates that three-quarters of 16- to 24-year-olds are ready to ditch passwords in favour of biometric security measures such as facial recognition, fingerprint and retina scanning.

In a survey of over 2000 UK adults, 76% said they would feel comfortable making a payment using biometric security and 69% believe this would make their lives faster and easier.

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 20 January, 2015, 16:08Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Biometrics - Very important and useful, but they can't be revoked.  It is work, but non-state-sponsered groups have successfully hacked Apple's TouchID.

We need to be very careful to not use biometrics in the wrong way and at the wrong time.

Strong and well-implemented cryptography, however, is a game-changer for authentication.  The username/password paradime has been useful, but it's ancient and needs to be replaced.

Reader, please help us to fall into this logical trap.: "We must do something, biometrics are something, we must do biometrics."

Let me suggest researching this:  https://www.grc.com/sqrl/sqrl.htm

And, listen to Steve's presentation of SQRL during DigiCert Corporation's Security Summit 2014 event on November 7th, 2014 in Las Vegas. (https://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm)

Stephen Wilson
Stephen Wilson - Lockstep Group - Sydney 27 January, 2015, 08:30Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

"USAA’s facial recognition requires users to look at the screen and, when prompted, blink their eyes."
Blinking is supposed to be the anti-spoofing mechanism?
Reminds me of the first face recognition systems using laptop cameras. You could hold up a photo of the target's face and wiggle it up and down to fool the algorithm into thinking there was some facial expression happening.
We have to remember that computer vision is utterly utterly unlike human vision. The idea that algorithms are ready to mimic the way humans perceive and recognise faces is dangerous. 

Find out more
Visit secure.onespan.com

Trending Stories