Lille, France – 18th March 2014 – The Natural Security Alliance has released the newest specifications for its world first strong authentication standard.

The standard defines a strong authentication method, for payment and access to services, across all channels (e.g. home, store, branch), without compromising security or privacy. This authentication method combines local biometric verification, a personal device and wireless technology, and can be implemented into various form factors, including a smartcard, micro-SD Card, mobile phone, secure element and token.

The latest specifications are the result of a working group of key retailers, banks, vendors and payment specialists involved in Natural Security Alliance since2008 and represent a colossal180 man-years of development.

François Laveissière, Director of Innovation Team at Auchan, commented; “Auchan is at the forefront of the retail industry. We continually invest in new ways of delivering best user experience while optimising processes. Natural Security paves the road for proximity payments based on mobile by solving issues such as customer equipment, efficiency and convenience, security and privacy. These new specifications are the next step in bringing the Natural Security strong authentication method into universal use.”

Pierre Lahbabi, Global Head of Marketing and Innovation/Cards and Innovative Payments at BNP Paribas added; “From the beginning we contributed to the Natural Security standard in order to help develop the authentication method needed for our customers. As a bank, we are always looking for standardised solutions. Thus, we are proud to be a founding member of the Natural Security Alliance as it is the right structure to consolidate an ecosystem with or based on this new authentication method.”

Gérard de Moura, Managing Director of Galitt, a consulting firm member of the Alliance agreed: “We are proud that Galitt has been deeply involved in the design of the Natural Security standards. The challenge, which has been successfully achieved so far, was to provide a set of specifications for this new authentication method which can easily incorporate existing specifications (like EMV in payments), while offering a high level of security and convenience. Leveraging the concept introduced by the project initiators, we have been combining a wide range of sophisticated technologies into a consistent and secure set of specifications.”

The newly released core specifications define the architecture and the different components required to enable a transaction based on a wireless acceptance device (WAD) used by an acceptance user (e.g. a retailer) and a wireless personal device (WPD) used by an individual user. Previous specifications have been successfully tested ina6-month consumer pilot carried out in France, which gave more than 900 customers the opportunity to test the first implementation of the Natural Security standard for proximity payments. The trial clearly showed that the public both accepted and adopted this biometric authentication method for proximity payments –with 94% of participants saying they were ready to use this means of payment for all purchases in superstores and smaller shops.

The new release of the core specifications is available to Natural Security Alliance members now and currently undergoing the certification process.

The specifications included are:

  •     Natural Security General Description [CORE1 / V 2.3]
  •     Natural Security WPD Specification [CORE2 / V 2.4]
  •     Natural Security WAD Specification [CORE3/ V 2.4]
  •     Wireless Personal Area Network Specification [CORE4/ V 3.02]
  •     WBIR protocol [CORE5 / 2.4.3]

New Strong Authentication Specifications Released

Natural Security Core Specifications:

Natural Security standard defines a strong authentication method dedicated to online and offline strong authentication. This standard is based on a unique combination of wireless technology, local biometric verification and personal device:

  • A personal device stores applications and data used to authenticate the user, resolving problems related to privacy and avoiding the use of biometric databases. The standard can be implemented into various form factors, including smartcard, micro-SD Card, Mobile Phone Secure Element and token.
  • Wireless communication technology (current IEEE 802.15.4 and Bluetooth Low Energy planned) spares users the need to physically handle this device.
  • Biometrics replaces or complements PINs so a transaction can only take place when both the user and the device are present.

This standard defines the architecture and the different components required to enable a transaction based on a wireless acceptance device (WAD) used by a acceptance user (e.g. a merchant) and a wireless personal device (WPD) used by an individual user. The Natural Security standard defines the following core specifications:

  • The Natural Security General Description [CORE1 / V 2.3] provides an introduction and a general overview of the Natural Security technology. It also describes services that can be provided by the Natural Security technology.
  • The Wireless Personal Device (WPD) [CORE2 / V 2.4] specification describes the device used by the Individual User (e.g. a customer) to execute a WPD session. This document also describes the Personal Access Provider architecture, which is the Natural Security core application residing in any WPD.
  • The Wireless Acceptance Device (WAD) [CORE3/ V 2.4] specification describes the device used by the Acceptance User (e.g. a merchant) to execute a WPD session. This document also describes the transaction flow of a WPD session.
  • The Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) [CORE4/ V 3.02] specification describes a mid-range wireless communication protocol used to connect the WPD with the WAD. This protocol based on WPAN is defined by Natural Security.
  • The Wireless Biometric Intelligent Reader (WBIR) Protocol [CORE5 / v2-43] specification provides the functional description of a device integrating the main Natural Security components, thus simplifying the integration of the Natural Security solution in existing systems. This document also describes the protocol messages to be used by a “Controlling-Device”, such as a POS or a PC, to control a WBIR.

About Natural Security Alliance

The Natural Security Alliance is a global community of preeminent companies dedicated to accelerating the adoption and ongoing development of Natural Security Technology based solutions. The Natural Security Alliance is comprised of some of the most influential companies in world from the retail, banking, payment provider, and IT Communities. All Alliance members share a strategic commitment to delivering mission-critical authentication and payment solutions based on secure element, wireless and biometric technology.

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