BOSTON -- The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a patent covering technology that allows users to authenticate their identity with a wireless signal via a mobile device to a Boston-based company. Universal Secure Registry LLC's technology, called USRID, can be used for mobile payments at vending machines and retail locations.
Usage examples include remote computer and network access, along with access to electronic wallets, physical facilities, financial transactions and secure websites. According to USR, its ID technology can access secure checkout environments for e-commerce transactions, vending machine purchases, interpersonal peer-to-peer identification or safely releasing private information or medical records.
A smartphone employing the USR application can stand alone as the front end for implementations where an individual must be securely and positively identified with the press of a button. This can include a certified picture of the individual that can be instantly provided when needed.
In automatic mode, a positive identity can be provided to unlock a computer or open a door as the user approaches. By pressing another smartphone button to send verified information, together and user's picture, USR can positively prove identity, enabling authorized rights and privileges.
The identifying information is sent by a wireless signal automatically and continuously, but only for a limited time period, defined by user, and only after multiple factors are satisfied. These include a specified smartphone being in possession of the user, a personal password provided by the user and a biometric measurement of the user -- fingerprint, voiceprint or facial topography.
These factors are integrated in a proprietary USR algorithm that generates a 16-charactor code, which periodically changes and is sent by a wireless signal to a protected computer system. USR passcodes can be used only once.
Optional security features -- duress alarm capability, functionality limited to predefined GPS areas and use audits for initiating remote actions -- can be put into service with USR software.
The technology is currently being tested on Android and is in development for iPhones. It was developed by identity-authentication and computer-security expert Kenneth Weiss. He says his technology is "millions of times" more secure, convenient and easy to use than his original invention, the RSA SecurID token, which is in wide use worldwide and has reportedly never been breached since its inception more than 25 years ago.
"I'm confident that a single technology will ultimately emerge from the greatly fragmented arena as the market standard," said Weiss. "It will be 'undefeatably' secure, exceptionally convenient to use, universal in its functionality, ubiquitous, inexpensive and conveniently integrated with something of value that a person is already carrying -- a smartphone.