A team of informatics and engineering specialists at City University London has received £135,000 in funding from the government's UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) for a three-year project to develop security measures for mobile banking.
Today, many mobile banking offerings require a dedicated SIM card to authenticate users, resulting in poor user experience and uptake, as consumers are forced to swap between SIM cards or use dual-SIM handsets.
City's team of researchers, led by Dr Rajarajan, assistant dean at E-Learning, is pioneering a form of security software that generates a personal code or 'crypto key' to each user via their existing SIM card. The result is a simple yet secure form of mobile banking authentication.
Rajarajan said: 'The GSMA's Mobile Money for the Unbanked initiative has set the global goal of bringing mobile financial services to 20 million people who previously did not have bank accounts, by 2012. But security concerns and the complexity of many services will hamper adoption.'
Researchers have so far worked with banks in India and the UK to develop a prototype of the technology and are also liaising with local government organisations to explore how the solution could be deployed in other mobile-transaction applications, such as paying for parking and congestion charges.
A feasibility study to be carried out by Warwick Business School and a cyber-criminologist from Leeds University's Law School will develop the necessary legal framework.
The UKIERI initiative aims to encourage research links between the UK and India, one of the fastest-growing mobile markets, with 80 million internet-enabled handset users predicted by the end of 2009.