Intel and Bank of America have teamed up to expand the availability of biometrics-based authentication for the financial institution's online banking customers, according to a joint announcement the companies made on October 23 at Money20/20 in Las Vegas. The new security solution will be based on Intel's Online Connect and Software Guard Extensions technologies, which are available on seventh and eighth-generation Intel CPUs. The overall goal, of course, is to provide users with much more comprehensive protection for their accounts than that provided by a simple password, while adding as little effort as possible.
As to the technology itself, since the solution is primarily hardware-based, the biometric data associated with any given customer will not be stored on or pulled from any secondary servers. Instead, all of the biometrics data will remain on the user's own device. The two companies believe that factor of the authentication should provide some additional peace of mind for those who take advantage of the technology. Bearing that in mind, the inclusion of the Intel's biometrics technology for PC users is not solely about making things more secure. According to executive representatives of both organizations, the inclusion of a biometrics option should also simplify the process a user must follow in order to access the digital side of their bank account. It will also dispense with the less convenient process typically used in most implementations of two-factor authentication. Most of those methods currently in use require the user to have ready access to a secondary device, often a smartphone, in order to provide the user with a security key they need to type in at login. That can be a real hassle since users don't always have their device at hand when they want to sign in and the extra steps aren't always quick.
It should be clarified that the use of biometrics within a business, or at banks, is not necessarily new. Most smartphone applications for banking currently support the use of fingerprint scanners to complete a login, for example. However, it appears Bank of America is working to change how that all works through the incorporation of relatively new technologies for online banking – or new, at least, to customers taking part in online banking. Back in August, it was also revealed that the company had been working with Samsung to create security measures based on iris scanning for its mobile customers. However, while there was no specific timeline given at the time of that reveal, Bank of America has said it plans to begin offering biometrics authentication to PC users through this new joint venture at some point in 2018.