It sounds like something out of a James Bond movie but it could be available on your smartphone next year. It's a biometrics application that uses your "eye print" to access sensitive information with your mobile device.
EyeVerify has produced what it calls "the first eyeprint solution" for mobile users to verify their digital identity. It allows them to securely access highly personal information on the Web in the blink of an eye -- literally. The system uses the hardware that is already part of your smartphone, namely the built-in camera.
The camera scans the user's eye to image and pattern match the unique veins in users' whites of the eyes. If it's a match, the user gains access to the information. If it's not a match, he doesn't.
Just like fingerprints
"Similar to how fingerprints historically were the standard in identifying individuals, EyeVerify is the first and only mobile authentication solution leveraging the uniqueness of eye vein patterns to obtain a person's 'eyeprint,'" said Toby Rush, CEO EyeVerify. "This new method is redefining standards for simple, yet secure authentication for personal or business use leveraging existing mobile devices without requiring additional hardware."
Currently most mobile devices are protected by passwords but Rush says that's no longer effective. He maintains they're not secure, there are too many, and these types of passwords are no longer a viable method for digitally proving we are who we say we are.
Other authentication technologies, such as fingerprint, Iris and keyfob tokens may offer comparable accuracy, but they require additional hardware and expense.
Everything's going mobile
Rush says something else was needed. Mobile devices are increasingly becoming the standard for how we manage our work and personal lives, potentially exposing ourselves to identity theft and fraud.
According to Aberdeen Group, there were $221 billion in identity-related crimes reported in 2011. The average user today manages over 25 online accounts, plaguing consumers with the battle of "password sprawl."
Dr. Arun Ross, Associate Professor at West Virginia University and a leader in biometric research, says that the applications for eyeprint technology are limitless. Eye vein biometrics can potentially be used for applications such as mobile banking, enterprise security and healthcare. And almost everyone has a smartphone with a camera.
EyeVerify's eyeprint technology isn't available just yet. The company says it is currently in beta test on the Apple iOS and Android mobile platforms. It should be available for general release in early 2013.