SAN ANTONIO, Texas – San Antonio City Employees FCU is putting security at its employees’ fingertips. The $240 million credit union recently introduced a new biometric technology system that examines a person’s unique typing keystroke to authenticate users. It is using the BioPassword product from Issaquah, Washington-based BioNet Systems LLC. For now it is using it to provide an additional layer of security for its laptop computers. San Antonio City Employees FCU VP of Marketing Eve Hernandez said the CU wanted to make its laptops more secure because they are mobile, used by various users, and employees of different levels have access to them. “Users range from some of the executives to the training department. Some are out in the field more like the auditors and training folks,” said Hernandez. With the HR department also using the laptops, there can be a lot of vital personal information being viewed. Hernandez said if the information fell into the wrong hands the potential damage could be significant. Credit unions have adopted biometric technology in the past, but mostly fingerprint scanning, facial recognition, and some iris scanning. Andrew Tull, EVP of Sales and Marketing for BioNet, said every person has a unique typing cadence and “dwell” and “flight” time. The “dwell” time is when the user is pressing the keyboard, while the “flight” is the time in between. Cadence is the rhythm so to speak of the typist. Tull said the technology started back in World War II when the military relied heavily on Morse code. The military noticed it would have difficulty with codes when different code givers were used because of their way of typing the dots and dashes. Some studies were done by the National Bureau of Standards, the National Science Foundation and the Rand Group. Eventually the Stanford Research Institute developed an algorithm for dwell and flight to capture the unique timings of individual’s typing pattern. BioNet acquired that technology and started going commercial a few years ago. Tull said the technology has been shown to be 99.6% accurate. In order to get an accurate read on a user, they are required to type their password a minimum of 10 times so the system can recognize them. Tull said even if someone watched another person type their password over and over the chance they could mimic their keystroke pattern is next to zero. Since the laptops at San Antonio City Employees FCU require a password, the BioPassword solution makes logging on to the laptops a two-phase authentication. Hernandez said what attracted the credit union to this technology is it didn’t require any additional hardware as say fingerprint scanning would. All that is required is the BioPassword software. The solution is also affordable, said Hernandez. Pricing is approximately $30 to $40 per users, however BioNet does not charge an initial installation fee which is common with most solutions. There is an annual maintenance fee of 15% of the total price. Tull said BioNet is seeing a lot of interest from the financial services industry and the health care industry in particular. He noted that the technology also has consumer potential for things such as online banking. Hernandez said she can envision the day where the credit union may roll out the product for its members in some form, whether it be online lending or online banking, or maybe branch applications. San Antonio City Employees FCU is often on the leading edge of technology. “We have consistently been ahead of the curve on new technology products. We were the first credit union in town with a debit card, we were early in the game with the Web and online banking,” said Hernandez. -pgentile@cutimes.com