February 23, 2024

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India: Two-Factor Authentication for Aadhaar-Based Fingerprint Authentication

A new security mechanism has been launched by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology’s Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication, which will improve the detection of spoofing attempts.

According to a press release, the in-house developed security mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication now utilises a combination of finger minutia and finger image, which is powered by artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML). This advanced technology enhances the liveness check of captured fingerprints, thereby making Aadhaar authentication transactions much more secure and robust.

The new two-factor/layer authentication is adding add-on checks to validate the genuineness (liveness) of the fingerprint to further cut down fraud attempts. This initiative will prove to be extremely beneficial in various sectors, such as banking and financials, telecom, and government. The implementation of the new security mechanism will also aid individuals at the bottom of the pyramid by strengthening the Aadhaar-enabled payment system and preventing fraudulent attempts made by unscrupulous elements, the government said.

After several months of discussions and support provided by the UIDAI to its partners and user agencies, the new security mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication is now fully functional.

The UIDAI engaged in constant communication and due diligence with authentication user agencies (AUAs) to emphasise the benefits of the new authentication modalities. An AUA is an entity that provides Aadhaar-enabled services to Aadhaar number holders through the authentication service agency. Sub-AUAs are agencies that utilise Aadhaar authentication to provide their services through an existing requesting entity. The UIDAI has expressed gratitude to all the AUAs/Sub-AUAs for their support and cooperation throughout the process of implementing the new security mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication.

The implementation of the new security mechanism has resulted in the replacement of the less secure single-factor authentication methods, which relied solely on either finger image or finger minutiae. The new system now uses a more robust two-factor authentication process, which is a positive outcome for all stakeholders involved.

The UIDAI head office and its regional offices are in touch with all entities for facilitating any user agency (that may not have migrated yet) to switch over to the new secured authentication mode at the earliest.

The adoption of Aadhaar-based authentication transactions has been witnessing an upward trend as it has proved to be a facilitator in availing several welfare benefits and services. Aadhaar card holders have carried out over 90.29 billion authentication transactions, so far. This includes 1.9 billion in January 2023 alone. As OpenGov Asia reported, the majority of the authentication transactions (1.35 billion) were carried out by using biometric fingerprints. Followed by demographic and OTP authentications.

By the end of January, Aadhaar saturation among all age groups reached 94.65%. The saturation level among the adult population is now near universal. During the month of January, more than 13.7 million Aadhaar cards were successfully updated. Furthermore, more than 295.2 million eKYC transactions were carried out during January this year.

170 entities including 105 banks are live on e-KYC. The adoption of e-KYC has also significantly reduced customer acquisition costs for entities like financial institutions and telecom service providers. By the end of January, the cumulative number of Aadhaar e-KYC transactions reached 14.12 billion.

Whether it is e-KYC for identity verification, Aadhaar-enabled DBT for direct fund transfer, AePS for last-mile banking, or authentications, Aadhaar, the digital infrastructure of good governance, has been playing a key role in supporting the Digital India mission.



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