ISRAEL21c: Have you ever noticed that when you are visiting your bank’s website or checking out at an ecommerce site, the cursor inexplicably vanishes and you have to move your mouse to get it back? This “trick” is part of how an award-winning Israeli fraud-busting startup is keeping users safe online.
BioCatch calls the missing cursor maneuver and similar techniques it employs “behavioral biometrics.” Biometrics is usually associated with unique identifying information such as a fingerprint, iris scan or DNA. But the way one behaves online is also unique. In the cursor example, users will respond in their own ways to a missing prompt – some will move the mouse in circles; others will quickly scan the corners of their screen.
BioCatch logs all this and creates user profiles for their clients, marketing communication manager Karine Regev tells ISRAEL21c. If, during a subsequent cursor “challenge,” a user responds in an unexpected way, that’s a clue the user isn’t who she or he claims to be. BioCatch tracks some 500 different parameters – for example, is the user left- or right-handed? Does the user generally use the mouse or the keyboard to navigate?
On a smartphone, BioCatch employs the device’s compass and accelerometer to track the angle at which the device is being held. It even knows how hard a user taps on the phone’s virtual keys. If the hacker is using an automated program, the pattern will look different than if a human is using the device. And users never know they’re being “watched.”
BioCatch was founded by Avi Turgeman, a graduate of the IDF’s elite 8200 intelligence unit, who says he took the jokey web adage “On the Internet nobody knows you’re a dog” seriously. “BioCatch was founded…with the goal of eliminating the ability of dogs to masquerade as people,” the company’s website proclaims.
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