Hands-on with the biometric signature tech we couldn’t fool (Wired UK)


Our signatures are one of the things that we truly own — one of
those rare things that its almost impossible to steal even if it
falls into the wrong hands. It is what is known as a behavioural biometric, just the
same as voice.

Biometric authentication is on the verge of becoming a huge part
of how we assert and verify our identity in the digital world, but
it’s not all going to be about fingerprint and iris scanners. Telefonica-owned security company ElevenPaths
has developed a technology called SealSign that can use your
handwriting as a secure form of authentication.

WIRED.co.uk attended a demo of SealSign at Mobile World Congress in
Barcelona. A novel way of trying out the technology was to try
forging the signatures of famous faces. Using a stylus, we had to
trace over the top of the signatures in an attempt to mimic them
precisely. This might sound relatively easy, but even if you have a
steady, artistic hand — which we didn’t — the technology also
measures speed and pressure, arranging the results on a series of

In fact, our first attempt at mimicking the flourish of Marilyn
Monroe rendered us with a 0/5 score. We did a little better when it
came to Steve Jobs, but we were still miles off the 4.5/5 score
required to identify a match.


“No one is able to fake any of the signatures because to get
past 4.3 it needs to be very accurate,” explains ElevenPaths CEO
Chema Alonso.

The technology is especially helpful in terms of internal
security for companies, he adds. It not only helps reduce fraud,
but helps automate processes too. “You receive a document in your
email, open the document and sign in on that device and that moment
the document is verified on the server.”

The obvious use for this technology may be security and
verification, but there are other ways in which it has the
potnetial to make an impact. A highly accurate digital signature
that can be saved as a digital file has the potential to negate the
need for as much physical document storage.

In Spain, Chemo explains, when a patient has to sign a document
giving doctors permission to perform a particularly risky
operation, that document must then be kept on file for 20 years if
the patient does not make it through the operation. SealSign is
already being used in Spanish hospitals to store the signatures of
patients digitally, rather than as hard copies.

ElevenPaths has been working with many different companies to
ensure that the technology works with different protocol standards
and it forms part of the secure digital ecosystem the company has
created to allow people to preserve their digital identities and
safeguard privacy.

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5 March 2015 | 2:19 pm – Source: wired.co.uk


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