Authentify, the leader in automated telephonic authentication for the Internet, today announced a new service called "BeCertain" that enables banks to offer their online customers the option to verify the authenticity of the institution's web site by requesting a telephone playback of their recorded voice.
This offering provides customers the confidence of knowing that they are at the bank's web site and are not being victimized by a Phishing or Pharming scam. Authentify's services are currently in use by leading e-commerce sites operated by Associated Bank, Department of Defense, Hewlett Packard, PayPal, and VeriSign.
In a June 27 update on identity theft, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) concluded that the risk assessment financial institutions are required to perform regarding information security also should address customer authentication. The report also said that if an institution offers Internet banking, it has an obligation to properly secure that delivery channel. This extra level of security for online accounts, often referred to as "multifactor authentication" would be used in addition to the traditional passwords.
How it Works
The BeCertain service is an extension of Authentify's two-factor authentication technology, first introduced in 2001, which synchronizes an automated outbound telephone call with a web session. Upon first time use, BeCertain places an automated call to the bank customer at the telephone number of record on file with the financial institution. When the call is answered, the customer must speak a security code being presented in their web browser. Next, the customer is prompted to record a voice message by reading a short script presented in their web browser. On subsequent visits to the bank's web site, the customer can request a playback of their recorded message via a telephone call for assurance that they are on the authentic site.
"The fact that consumers are losing confidence in doing business online with their financial institutions is well known and well documented," said Peter Tapling, President and CEO of Authentify. "The BeCertain service allows consumers to feel in control and confident that they are making contact with their institution's authentic web site. By using the telephone as a second authentication method, banks can take advantage of an existing communication channel that does not require user training or new hardware and software."
Additional Benefits of Real-Time Authentication
Mutual real-time authentication is a new field of expertise. The proliferation of e-mail based Phishing scams and look alike Web sites or "Pharming" have created the need for online users to be able to verify that they are on a trusted site. For web site operators, the challenge is to make the validation process practical and efficient. Authentify's automated telephonic authentication services offer one of the few methods that require no devices or software on the client side and support any computer or any browser.
In addition, the Authentify service establishes a two-way communication channel between an organization and its constituents. For example, this channel enables a web user to authenticate themselves to the bank, and the bank, in turn, can authenticate itself to the user. This authentication channel can also be used as an alert system which can place an unattended and automated telephone call to a user when certain transactions are attempted against their accounts.