Year in Review: Mary Jane Couldridge, VP, Zighra, on the Advent of Frictionless Cybersecurity

Year in Review: Mary Jane Couldridge, VP, ZighraAs the developer of a passive authentication system for mobile devices, Zighra looks to be ahead of the curve when it comes to digital security. While standard biometrics like fingerprint and facial recognition are still seen as cutting-edge, there is increasingly an aspiration in the digital security industry to develop authentication systems that don’t require the user to take any particular action, and that can operate in the background, allowing for continuing security even after an initial authentication session.

Zighra’s system, based on a combination of behavioral biometrics and gait recognition, got its first US patents in 2017, and was officially launched in October. In her interview with FindBiometrics, Zighra Partnerships and Sales VP Mary Jane Couldridge goes into detail about what makes Zighra’s SensifyID solution so special, how the biometrics industry evolved in 2017, and the big opportunities – and challenges – that lay ahead for the industry in the year to come.

Read our full interview with Mary Jane Couldridge, Vice President Partnerships and Sales, Zighra:

FindBiometrics: What are the biggest highlights for your organization from the past year?

Mary Jane Couldridge, Vice President Partnerships and Sales, Zighra: We launched the world’s first AI-powered continuous authentication platform called SensifyID, which continuously authenticates the genuine user of an app based on unique human traits. It’s based on six layers of intelligence, including advanced behavioral biometrics, and has three delivery options: cloud, on-premise appliance or entirely on-device with capabilities for online and offline. For enterprises wishing to avoid centrally stored ID credentials, which have been a common source of attacks, they can leverage the on-device decentralized data model. The decentralized model is well positioned for blockchain deployments.

Integration of SensifyID to mobile and web apps is completed via an SDK, bringing real-time intelligence and privacy protection while supporting new privacy regulations such as GDPR.

Zighra was granted two patents in 2017 – the first is for the creation of a cognitive signature of each user based on six layers of intelligence, creating what we call an ‘N-dimensional’ approach to authentication. The second patent builds on this capability enabling the system to quickly build highly personalized user/device profiles based on the way the user interacts with their devices, from the way they swipe and tap to the way they scroll or hold their device. We anticipate additional patents to be issued in 2018.

FB: What, in your opinion, was the defining trend for the biometrics industry as a whole in 2017?

Zighra: This was a year of learning and maturing in the biometric industry as businesses deployed more static biometric implementations. The iPhone X launch with facial recognition signaled a move away from static biometrics, but the subsequent release of a video by a Vietnamese cybersecurity firm demonstrating how one could compromise the system with a mask made from a 3D printer, was a watershed moment.  Many believe that “Identity is the new Perimeter” will be core for 2018 as focus is shifting from not only securing the network perimeter but securing access and authorization of apps and data via identity management. This is a foundational trend for behavioral biometrics, given static biometrics can only take us so far and can be compromised as a standalone method of authentication. We are excited about what 2018 will bring to the evolution of biometrics and AI experiences.

FB: What are the main challenges you want to see the biometrics industry address in 2018?

Zighra: We see three opportunities in 2018. Firstly, we believe more collaboration amongst vendors and customers will be key to accelerating innovation, learning and successful adoption.  Second, the biometric industry has the opportunity to deliver on the promise of invisible and frictionless cybersecurity this year. Any authentication process that is a burden for the end user will struggle to be successful.

Finally, there is an opportunity to shift away from approaches based on blacklisting known ‘bads’ given bad actors evolve very quickly. Given we are now in a sensor-based world driven by smartphones and other IoT devices, the future of authentication and threat detection will lie in modelling good biometrics and detecting anomalies in an implicit manner for risk scoring and automation to significantly reduce fraud and risk.


Stay posted to FindBiometrics to see more year-end reflections and predictions from the biggest names in biometrics.

The 15th Annual FindBiometrics Year in Review is brought to you by Leidos.