Aadhaar gets new security feature for fingerprint-based authentication

To make the Aadhaar card more secure and protect the data of citizens, the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) has rolled out a new security mechanism. UIDAI, which is mandated to issue an easily verifiable 12-digit Aadhaar to all residents of India has rolled out a new mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication and faster detection of spoofing attempts.

According to an official release by UIDAI, the artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) based security mechanism has been developed in-house. The new mechanism is a ‘combination of both finger minutiae and finger image’ to check the liveness of the fingerprint captured.

UIDAI in a statement announced the new security mechanism for robust fingerprint-based Aadhaar authentication, and said “this is making Aadhaar authentication transactions even more robust and secure”. “The new two-factor/layer authentication is adding add-on checks to validate the genuineness (liveness) of the fingerprint so as to further cut down the chances of spoofing attempts,” the release added. The development is expected to be of immense use in segments such as banking and financials, telecom and government sectors. It will strengthen the Aadhaar-enabled payment system and curb malicious attempts by unscrupulous elements, thus benefiting the bottom of the pyramid’.

The new security mechanism for Aadhaar-based fingerprint authentication has now become fully functional. The rollout and migration happened after months of discussion and hand-holding by UIDAI of its partners and user agencies,” the release added. A constant engagement and due diligence of UIDAI with authentication user agencies (AUAs) were carried out to inform them (AUAs/ Sub AUAs) about the benefit of the new system.

AUA is an entity engaged in providing Aadhaar-enabled services to 12-digit ID holders using authentication as facilitated by the authentication service agency. Sub-AUAs are agencies that use Aadhaar authentication to enable their services through an existing requesting entity.

The UIDAI head office and its regional offices are in touch with all entities for facilitating any user agency (that may not have migrated yet) to switch over to the new secured authentication mode, at the earliest.

The adoption of Aadhaar-based authentication transactions has been on an upward trend as it has proved to be a facilitator in availing several welfare benefits and services. “By the end of December 2022, a cumulative number of Aadhaar authentication transactions had crossed 88.29 billion and clocking an average per day transactions of 70 million. A majority of them are fingerprint-based authentications, indicative of its usage and utility in daily lives,” the release added.

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