Interview with John Zurawski, Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Authentify
by Mirko Zorz - Thursday, 23 January 2003.
There's been a lot of news on identity theft lately. How big would you say the problem is?

Identity Theft is certainly the fastest growing crime in the United States. I suspect that's true on a worldwide basis. The risk reward ratio is skewed well in favor of the criminal. If you think about it, there's much less risk than walking into a bank waving a gun around. The amount you can steal is often higher than your average bank robbery as well. After all, you don't want to just steal someone's credit card or bank account and use that, you want to steal their information and open a dozen new credit cards in their name and use those. In difficult economic times, I suspect the problem will get worse before it gets better. Much the way air travellers have accepted tighter security at airports for their safety, I believe online users will come to accept a few more authentification steps when using online services as they become more aware of the risks to their financial well being.

Do you see the disgruntled employee or the outside attacker as the bigger threat to a company?

That's a difficult question to answer. Unfortunately, the disgruntled employee has access to information and may know a bit about security policy and practice. It may be easier of them to circumvent security practices. Many information security breaches are perpetrated by "insiders". An insider may, however, be after something specific. An outside attacker, on the other hand, may break in and blunder around your system causing collateral damage in an unintended fashion. Either way it's bad.

What are your plans for the future?

Security is a process, not a single event or technology. In our existing offerings, we can layer a number of different security elements into the interaction with the end user. These include speech recognition, voice biometrics, telephone provisioning and various geographic relationship measurements as well. We will continue to add technology layers that enhance our core offerings and deliver value to our current and future customers. Biometrics in particular is an area that holds considerable promise for us.

Imagine using your telephone to register for a credit card and having the voice biometric collected during your registration embedded on a chip in the credit card. Our technology can help the smart card vendors achieve this, and the average credit card holder would enjoy considerably more credit protection. That's certainly one thing I'd like to see in the future.

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