Filed Under: History and future, People

Casino Royale-with-Cheese, Part 6

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Undercover at Money2020, our man in Las Vegas ls lost in booths, babes and benjamins. But can agent 0111 stop a killer new technology from falling into the wrong hands? It’s Main Street vs Infinite Loop in the major new blogbuster from CHYP End… welcome to… Pay Another Day

Part 6: Dr. NoAuth

“Oh come on G. For goodness sake! How am I supposed to get into the Women 2.0 reception? It’s just not possible. I suppose you want me to shave my legs and wear a cocktail dress?”

G. was insistent. “It’s important. We need to know if Women 2.0 is an Illuminati front or a genuine attempt to recruit and retain woman in the payments workforce.”

He was adamant. “I’m not doing it G., I’m not. Dash it all, there are some places where a chap just does not go, like IKEA on a Sunday”.

G. smiled. “Come on James. You’ll find a way.”

Bond set off for the bar trying to think of a plausible way to make it up to the 38th floor. There was no way past the guard at the entrance to the elevator is and he didn’t think you’d be able to scale the outside of the building without being noticed, so out of ideas he went to the lobby bar to think. Walking in, he quickly scanned the throng, looking for the kind of powerful woman he would need to help pull this one off. He saw her sitting on a white sofa and in one movement glanced at the passing waiter and slid down onto the comfortable leather. He put out a hand.

“Birch, Dave Birch”.

She reached out a hand in response.

“Realini, Carol Realini.”

Twenty minutes later he was riding up to the 38th floor as her date.

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Bond wasn’t quite sure to expect as he walked through the door. He hadn’t really given it much thought, but he wasn’t that keen on spending a couple of hours talking about breastfeeding rooms and freezing eggs when he could have been playing Blackjack downstairs. When he went in, though, it turned out that they were talking about empowering women entrepreneurs. That gave him an idea…

After listening to the talk, Bond went next door to get something to eat. With gin and tonic in hand he made small talk until the buzz from his phone signalled a text message. He glanced down. The biometrics expert had arrived and he needed to talk to her so he invited her up, thinking that as she was a) a woman and b) an entrepreneur, she would provide him with the perfect cover.

Bond broke out a genuine smile as his old friend Max came in.

“Hey Max. Great to see you. How have you been keeping?”

They found a quite corner and Max explained to him all about fingerprint sensors and false accept rates and false reject rates and crossover curves and sensitivity and reproduction and the difference between matching templates and searching databases for approximate collisions. As she talked, Bond began to realise the different between identification and authentication, and he began to think about what that might mean in a retail payments context. The fog cleared.

“Ah.” said James, picking up the implications of what Max was saying. She was saying that the A.P.P.L.E fingerprint system looked as if it was something to do with security, but was really to do with convenience. It was the two-factor authentication with the device that was the key, and it didn’t really matter if you used a fingerprint or a PIN or something else.

 So A.P.P.L.E had stumbled on a configuration that delivered the right balance of factors. Strong local authentication against a secure biometric template linked to a revocable token stored in tamper-resistant hardware. You had to give it to those Cupertino wallahs. They knew what consumers wanted, which was lucky because banks didn’t (and neither did the consumers, for that matter).

[Part 7: You Only Pay Twice]

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