This article was first published in the Summer 2015 issue of OnWindows
Earlier this year, a ring of international hackers pulled off the biggest bank theft to date. Over one billion dollars was stolen after the gang used computer viruses to infect networks in more than 100 financial institutions across 30 countries. The fraud is rumoured to have proceeded for nearly two years without banks, regulators or law enforcement catching on.
This is just the latest in a huge number of attacks which are seemingly getting more and more sophisticated. “These attacks again underline the fact that criminals will exploit any vulnerability in any system,” said Sanjay Virmani, director of the Interpol digital crime centre, the organisation which uncovered the attack, in a press statement. “It also highlights the fact that no sector can consider itself immune to attack and must constantly address their security procedures.”
With this in mind, it’s no surprise that security is the biggest challenge facing banks today – a challenge which is getting harder to meet as connected technologies continue to grow. Indeed, more than three billion people worldwide are currently online and it’s estimated that 75 billion devices will be connected by 2020, with millions of POS devices accessing the internet. The data on these devices is attractive to hackers looking to leverage credit card information and other customer data for their own financial gain.
Built-in security, therefore, is crucial in the effort to reduce the risks to businesses and consumers, and this is an area where Intel is investing a huge amount of resources. We believe that, as technology becomes more deeply integrated into life, security must be more deeply integrated into technology. Our acquisition of security business McAfee underlines this belief – together we are able to seamlessly integrate security into every device at every layer of the compute stack, protecting valuable data and helping every player in the retail financial services industry to feel secure.
Our partnership with Microsoft also compounds our commitment to security. We’ve collaborated for over twenty years to ensure that our combined systems and solutions work great together in the most secure way possible. We also work closely with industry ISVs to help build very specific solutions for the financial services industry, retail banking being front of mind recently. As they travel their journey of transformation, we at Intel and Microsoft are working hard to ensure that we create real solutions to banks’ business problems.
One of the most recent examples of our collaboration with Microsoft and its partners comes in the form of Windows Hello, a new Windows 10 authentication feature supported by Intel RealSense technology. Windows Hello will use facial recognition and other biometrics to let people access their Windows 10 devices and supported apps and sites without a password.
“Today, passwords are the primary method most of us use to protect our personal information, but they are inconvenient and insecure,” explained Joe Belfiore, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of the operating systems group, in a recent blog post.
“They are easily hackable and even when complex they are not effective, but most of us want something easy to remember, so we either choose a simple password or end up noting it down somewhere making it less secure. And, to be truly secure, you need to remember dozens of passwords to login to your many devices and services.”
Using Intel’s RealSense camera technology, Windows Hello introduces system support for biometric authentication – using your face, iris, or fingerprint to unlock your devices – with technology that is much safer than traditional passwords.
In addition to its authentication features, our RealSense technology has a number of other notable uses which have the potential to revolutionise the retail financial services industry. For example, we’re developing an interactive floating display which could be used in ATMs. This holographic display is used in the same way as a touchscreen, but without the need to directly touch anything. Details that are being projected on the screen can be seen only from the direct viewpoint of the user, so it’s totally secure.
There’s also the possibility of creating more natural video chats with tellers thanks to our immersive video conferencing technology. Allowing banks to better connect with customers, this solution, which is already available, would allow bank staff to share documents – such as personal finance planning information – all via video.
I believe that there’s a massive opportunity here for banks to lead the way in delivering frictionless, secure experiences for customers. By embracing new security technologies available on the market today, they will be able to better protect their mission-critical systems, ensure consumer peace of mind and become a frontrunner in an environment that is notoriously difficult to compete in.
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