Towards cross-border interoperable digital identity in financial sector

Nowadays we live in a world immersed in technology. We perform hundreds of activities on the web, from e-mail to pay bills, to keeping in contact with friends. All this requires the use of different user accounts and their passwords. 

Think for a moment of all the user accounts you own. Doing this for myself I found at least 12 different user accounts , such as DnB NOR bank, HiG, Hotmail, Gmail, Facebook among many others. Keeping track of all the user names and passwords can thus sometimes be a difficult task. Regarding online banking systems this is not good, as this is where all your money is saved and a simple slip of information therefore might cost you a lot of money.

A regular banking customer usually has accounts in more than one bank and needs to remember all the passwords and keep all the one-time password tokens in order to get access to online banking facilities. Most of the banks in Europe have their own online banking facilities which may differ from another, especially in terms of the identity management solution in use. Therefore there is a need for a universal identity in banking systems.

Artem Poryadin from MSc. in Information Security is, under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Bernhard Hämmerli from Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland, making a comprehensive analysis of today's electronic payment, credit card and online banking markets. He is working to create a model for cross-border interoperable identity. This model intends to manage user identity of online banking systems, taking some ideas from the Norwegian BankID system, where a single bank identity can be used in different banks to realize payments and deposits. This entails the use of one single user identity and one single password to manage all bank accounts that a person or organization owns, both domestically and in the European Union. This model may produce a big impact in whole Europe, and possibly worldwide.

This model will benefit the society in a big scale ”, Artem says. One single user identity will be enough to manage n -bank accounts, thus providing more security to users. This model will also prevent users from the use of weak passwords easy to hack, reduce costs of maintenance, support and development, incrementing cost-savings and increasing the security for users. Moreover it might make easier for large multinational companies to administrate their bank accounts around the world. Using this model, companies having accounts in various banks in different parts of the world, will be able to manage identities in a cost-effective way and open/close accounts using a single ID. It also may help to move company's goods faster. Every business is aiming for globalization. There is a need for personal identity, therefore the future of online banking might be completely different as we know it… and better. 

Artem's main goal is to design a potentially successful business model and its architecture. Such a model can assure wide acceptance by multiple parties and fast spread out of the identity; as well as to propose a framework on how to create this infrastructure and apply it successfully to the European society. “It is useful ”, Artem says, “And I need to do something useful to the society, something with a strong impact. Work on a system able to create a big impact is the main motivator for me ” he concludes.

Read more about Artem’s thesis at http://www.hig.no/imt/emnesider/imt4901/is2011

This research is what HiG students do to make the difference!

Artem Poryadin (artem.poryadin@hig.no) is from Arkhangelsk, Russia. He has been a HiG student since August 2009.