Genuine Presence Assurance: Ensuring Secure Video Conferencing

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business meeting in conference room on a video conference call

The global coronavirus pandemic has ushered in rapid change. Across nearly every industry, office work has become remote work, and the rhythm and substance of our daily lives have been altered for the foreseeable future. As a result, cybersecurity has become an issue, with collaboration solutions like video conferencing being victimized by their own success.

There’s no better example than Zoom, which went from 10 million to 200 million daily users in a matter of days as people worldwide were forced to quarantine at home. Zoom earned goodwill and media coverage by offering their services for free, not only to businesses struggling with the lockdown but also to schools and churches. 

But that goodwill was soon undone with privacy and security concerns culminating in the “Zoom bombing” phenomenon, where pranksters joined Zoom calls. Their “pranks” ranged from disruption and trolling to fraud and even the broadcasting of pornography and shock videos. 

How did this happen? Each Zoom conference provides a randomly generated ID number that’s used by participants to gain access to a meeting. It was discovered that these IDs were easy to guess, enabling anyone to get into meetings. Zoom improved their security posture, but damage has been done to the company’s reputation, and issues with user confidence remain. 

And Zoom bombing is just one of many conferencing security issues. As people are increasingly relying on video conferencing, they are getting frustrated with broken connections and looking for ways around that. An AI process developed by Nvidia replaces streaming video with a virtual “puppet,” just one key image of the speaker, in addition to face-tracking data. Unfortunately, Nvidia’s solution opens up even more opportunity for misuse and brings the threat of deep fakes even closer. 

Video solutions like distance learning and even legal applications are seeing the need for enhanced security. Innovative approaches must be implemented to ensure that the people we see online are in fact who they say they are. 

Our Solution Is ‘iProoving’ 

So, can businesses be certain that employees are speaking to genuine colleagues and not being hoodwinked into divulging sensitive information or taking instruction to make payments to criminals? How can families be sure that they are not suddenly going to be seeing porn during a family game night? Really knowing that a video conference user is a genuinely present person, versus a physical or digital copy, is far more than verifying an ID or validating a password. 

That’s where solutions like ours come in. iProov is the world leader in providing biometric facial verification technology that assures the identity and genuine presence of individuals. Using Genuine Presence Assurance, video conferencing providers can ensure that a user is the right person, matching a trusted identity document if needed; a real person, not a photo or video; and taking part right now and not a deep fake. Our firm began just a few years ago in the UK, and we’ve been enthusiastically received by banks and governments worldwide. These organizations now rely on iProov’s patented identity verification technology to achieve secure digital authentication to ensure that users are genuine. 

iProov’s unique approach, called Flashmark, uses a sequence of colors to illuminate an individual’s face while streaming video of the person’s face back to iProov’s servers. 

Based on how the light reflects and interacts with each unique face, iProov can determine whether it is observing a live, skin-covered three-dimensional human face-shaped object or not. What’s more, the sequence of colors is different each time, creating a multicolored, encrypted timestamp to determine if Flashmark is observing a recording or a pre-made fake video. 

A Closer Look 

The benefits of using Genuine Presence Assurance in video conferencing are myriad.  Consider that most schools are now relying on video conferencing to teach. What’s to stop students from merely posting a picture or video of themselves pretending to listen to a class? Or from getting help from others during exams? In addition, one can easily envision proctored tests being administered using Flashmark facial verification, as it is unlikely that tests like the SAT, LSAT or various state bar exams will be administered in large auditorium settings as done in the past. 

Another key use case for facial verification technology is the legal profession. The need for greater flexibility is being driven by the coronavirus, given that traditional business practices like depositions and conferences have been disrupted due to the inability to meet in person. For example, lawyers must accomplish live document signings that include witnesses, and video conferencing represents a viable alternative. But there must be a way to ensure that the people seen online are actually who they say they are. In this application, law firms can benefit from iProov’s genuine presence assurance to ensure security. 

iProov is meeting the growing market need for authentic identity verification head on. We’re expanding rapidly and aggressively moving into new markets and geographies, including North America. I’m honored to be leading our new U.S.-based team, strategically located in Catonsville, Maryland, so that we can better serve our nearby Federal government customers as we continue to expand our North American footprint. 

For videoconferencing and more, Genuine Presence Assurance is critical to seamless online experiences, and iProov is excited about helping to deliver online trust and ensure a more secure digital future.

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