BankGuard Seeks to Reinvent Online Banking Security

BankGuard Seeks to Reinvent Online Banking Security

by September 21, 2015

Japanese startup BankGuard has developed a new security system for the online banking industry that addresses weaknesses of current technologies on man-in-the-middle attacks.

Entitled the SuperMatrix, this patented two-factor authentication solution is reinventing banking security by utilizing images rather than numeric one-time passwords, that are either printed or affixed as a sticker on the back of a bank card or credit card.

Bankguard supermatrix step 1

Firstly, the user authentication step requires selecting the relevant images as displayed on the printed random number chart.

Then, the transaction authentication step requires selecting the image corresponding to the final digits of the online remittance destination bank account number.

The images of the designated row are displayed in random order on the screen.

supermatrix step 2

The method can defend against latest man-in-the-middle attacks, is resistant against phishing sites, and can be printed easily on a credit card. This makes it both effective and “low cost of one fifth compared to conventional security systems like one-time password,” the company said.

However, having an idea or a patent doesn’t mean it is a complete product, Dr. Haruhiko Fujii, CEO and CTO at BankGuard said. BankGuard still needs to run a proof-of-concept with banks in order to be accepted by the industry players.

“Our product is a new concept in this industry, there is friction against adopting this new technology amongst potential clients,” Dr. Fujii said, describing his startup’s current main challenge.

Dr. Fujii said he intends to pitch the idea to the Singapore Government, to make this one of the authentication methods of the National ID card system.

“We would love to get some support from the Government, since this is a crucial piece of security technology that involves financial institutions,” he said.

BankGuard, a Tokyo-based startup accelerated by Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore, was founded by Dr. Haruhiko Fujii, a former researcher at one of the world’s leading laboratories, working on encryption security systems.

The startup works on providing solutions for Internet banking security, especially against unauthorized transactions.

“We believe in a practical method when designing our products. In other words, it must be safe, cost-efficient, as well as convenient to use,” Dr. Fujii explained.

 “With our product [the SuperMatrix,] there won’t be a need for any [one-time password] anymore. [With the SuperMatrix] there’s no danger of the codes being stolen by a phishing site, unlike conventional numeric matrices. And since it is a physically printed object, costs can be kept low, and it can be conveniently carried around.”

Watch Dr. Fujii’s interview with Startupbootcamp Fintech Singapore: