Putting smartphones at the centre of online security

An EU-funded project has launched a smartphone-centric authentication platform securely connecting all online accounts with a user's identity, putting an end to having to remember myriad PINs and passwords. This could help protect against hacking and boost confidence in online commerce amid privacy concerns.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 30 July 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Information societyE-Commerce  |  Internet  |  Telecommunications
Research policyHorizon 2020
Security
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  Cyprus  |  Greece  |  Italy  |  Netherlands  |  Romania  |  Spain  |  United Kingdom
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Putting smartphones at the centre of online security

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© Golden Sikorka #76809251, source: stock.adobe.com 2019

In today’s world, more and more of our daily lives – from socialising to shopping, banking or booking vacations – takes place online. This is increasingly putting people’s sensitive personal details at risk and requires stepped-up security.

The unique integration of state-of-the-art technologies by the EU-funded RECRED project has tackled this challenge and is spurring commercial solutions. These are aimed at online identity management and age verification with capabilities exceeding existing systems, marking a paradigm shift in online security, data privacy and digital authentication.

RECRED shifts the burden of privacy and security from users to their now ubiquitous mobile devices. It does so by making combined use of the latest authentication technologies including biometrics such as fingerprint scans and facial recognition, behavioural recognition such as typing styles, and location-based security features.

Additional locking and recovery capabilities ensure that a user’s smartphone does not go from being a single point of security and authentication to being a single point of failure in the event of theft, loss or damage.

‘RECRED enables robust and efficient user authentication based on biometrics and behavioural characteristics in a user-friendly, secure and privacy-preserving manner, addressing all the main problems that traditionally plague password-based access control, which is now effectively obsolete,’ says project coordinator Christos Xenakis of the University of Piraeus in Greece.

‘The principal beneficiaries are end users as it significantly enhances their experience by not having to remember dozens of passwords and at the same time maintaining their anonymity and providing an increased level of security.’

Commercial scalability

RECRED is designed in a way that facilitates commercialisation and deployment, increasing its chances of having an impact on people’s lives.

By integrating technologies and standards such as OpenID Connect, the FIDO Universal Authentication Framework and a processor-based Trusted Execution Environment service, providers can adopt RECRED without having to heavily modify their existing software and systems. It also complies with authentication and data protection rules such as the EU’s GDPR regime.

Protecting children, targeting fake news

Two offshoot products now being deployed commercially underscore the benefits and scalability of the approach:

AGEify – an extensively-tested solution designed to protect children from age-restricted content, products and services – provides fast and simple age verification across a number of widely used web platforms while protecting sensitive personal data. Planning is underway to expand the solution towards age verification in the physical world, implementing it in Internet of Things devices and on publicly unattended machines, such as dispensers of alcohol and tobacco products or slot machines.

IDifier establishes a secure and privacy-protecting connection between a user’s online and real-world identity, meeting the demand for trust-boosting applications targeting the sharing economy and preventing online identity fraud. This includes proving the authenticity of online content – a key element in efforts to combat fake news and the spread of false information.

Project details

  • Project acronym: RECRED
  • Participants: Greece (Coordinator), Spain, Netherlands, Romania, UK, Belgium, Cyprus, Italy
  • Project N°: 653417
  • Total costs: € 6 325 156
  • EU contribution: € 4 997 242
  • Duration: May 2015 to April 2018

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