Indian government to add facial recognition, iris scan for digital payments

Indian government to add facial recognition, iris scan for digital payments
  • Indian government may implement multi-factor authentication for digital payments.
  • Facial recognition, Iris scan and user location may be used to ensure security.
The Indian government has been pushing for increasing digital payments and moving towards a cashless economy.

The Chief of National Cyber Coordination Centre, Dr Rajesh Pant, at an ASSOCHAM event said that the government is looking to implement multi-factor authentication to improve the security of digital transactions in the country.

As per a report, 1.3 billion UPI transactions were recorded in January 2020. With the increasing number of transactions, it is also important to increase the security of digital transactions.

Govt to move towards multi-factor authentication

At present, UPI and payment apps like PhonePe and Google Pay use two-factor authentication as mandated by RBI. Two-factor authentication involves two factors to grant access to a system. Most apps use one-time-passwords (OTPs) in addition to passwords to authenticate users.

The government is now looking to improve this with the introduction of multi-factor authentication. In addition to requiring a password to sign in, the payment apps may also be mandated to add an additional layer of security in the form of facial recognition, Iris scan and checking the location to ensure security of digital payments.

While facial recognition is easy, it will not be easy to implement iris scan on smartphones. While Samsung offers an iris scanner on a few of its flagship devices, this feature is not available on other smartphones.

At present, some banking apps already require the user to enable the location on the smartphone to complete a transaction. This helps in finding the person who initiated the transaction in case fraud is detected. This should not be hard to implement on other apps as well.

During the ASSOCHAM IndiSec - Cyber & Internal Security Conference, Dr. Pant also said, “The trials of technology for multi-factor authentication are already going on abroad, once it gets approved then we will definitely bring it in India.”

See also:

Four in five Asian banks are losing money to fraud as real-time payments rise — and it will only get worse in 2020

Jeff Bezos phone hack shows hackers are winning in the 'arms race' between governments and tech firms according to a cybersecurity expert

Indian nuclear plant hack is only one small part of a much 'bigger' operation, according to a cybersecurity expert