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Assessing Onfido: Combating Fraud With AI-Based Identity Verification

In the digital realm, trust is currency. Without robust identity verification, online interactions become a breeding ground for fraud and exploitation. Enter Onfido, a London, England–based company carving a niche in the identity verification landscape with its AI-powered Real Identity Platform. With over 1,200 clients and a global reach, Onfido stands as a trusted guardian for businesses, particularly in the financial world, where secure user authentication is paramount. I had the pleasure of speaking with two Onfido experts: Paul, joining me from London, and Minh. Poor Minh was connected from France during the Microsoft Team’s EMEA network failovers on Friday, January 26, and was clever enough after several drops to make our analyst demo work. What follows is my assessment of the solution after spending time with them where they demonstrated their product capabilities in identity verification (IDV).

A diagram showing the components of Onfido's Real Identity Platform, including its Verification Suite, Shareable Identity, and Atlas AI.

FIDO: A Latin Legacy of Trust

The name Onfido itself whispers a tale of trust. Derived from the Latin “confido,” meaning “trust,” the company name echoes the fundamental principle underpinning its mission. This commitment to trust extends beyond mere semantics. Onfido’s platform adheres to stringent compliance standards like ETSI 1219-461 and UKDIATF, with NIST 800-63 coming soon, ensuring seamless integration with existing security protocols.

Beyond KYC: Embracing Comprehensiveness

While Onfido excels at electronic Know Your Customer (eKYC), its capabilities extend far beyond. It boasts biometric verification, data verification, and electronic ID verification, supporting anti-money laundering (AML) compliance through watchlist checks. This holistic approach provides businesses with a 360-degree view of user identities, mitigating risk and fostering a secure digital environment.

A screenshot from the demo showing Onfido's workflow user interface.

The Evolving Threat Landscape: A Proactive Approach

Onfido recognizes the ever-evolving landscape of online threats and addresses the growing sophistication of scalable fraud attacks like counterfeit documents, synthetic identities, and deepfakes with a proactive approach. Its Fraud Lab acts as a war room, where in-house experts dissect and analyze fraud cases, generating synthetic data sets to mimic real-life attacks. This continuous learning loop allows Onfido to adapt and refine its algorithms, staying ahead of the curve in the fight against fraud.

Onfido's Fraud Lab uses analysis and benchmarking, synthetic datasets, and collaboration to stay ahead in the fight against fraud.

AI at the Core: Atlas™, the Anti-Bias Engine

Powering Onfido’s fraud prevention platform is Atlas, a cutting-edge suite of AI computer vision algorithms. Boasting large language models (LLMs) and advanced computer vision techniques, Atlas analyzes government-issued IDs, photographs, screen textures, and a multitude of other factors to deliver accurate verification. Notably, Atlas prioritizes anti-bias, actively mitigating the influence of factors like skin color and facial features. This ensures inclusive verification, opening doors for individuals with physical impairments or unique physical characteristics.

A walkthrough of the end-user interface using Onfido on mobile.

Beyond Verification: A User-Centric Experience

Onfido understands that seamless verification goes hand in hand with a user-friendly experience. The platform features prebuilt flow templates that allow for customization based on specific needs. The Web SDK enables remote verification through web browsers, while the cross-device user experience uses a QR code, which feels similar to Apple’s Handoff functionality, ensuring a smooth verification process across platforms.

A walkthrough of the end-user identify verification process including taking a selfie.

A depiction of an Onfido workflow.

Collaboration: A Shared Defense Against Fraud

Onfido’s fraud team consists of experts in border control and passport issuance. This synergy fosters a holistic understanding of identity fraud and strengthens the global security ecosystem. Additionally, Onfido’s commitment to education shines through its training programs for clients and associates, ensuring everyone involved is equipped to combat the ever-evolving threat landscape.

FIDO2: A Glimpse into the Future

While Onfido currently focuses on its core platform, the company hasn’t overlooked the potential of FIDO2, a secure authentication standard. The Onfido Airside solution offers FIDO2 capabilities, paving the way for a future where seamless and secure authentication becomes the norm.

The Onfido difference: Onfido is a complete identity solution built by real fraud and AI experts. It enables global coverage and local compliance with powerful no-code orchestration.

Source: Analyst Demo: Onfido with Minh Nguyen and Paul Jarratt, January 2024

Our Take

In the ever-expanding digital world, Onfido stands as a beacon of trust. Its commitment to innovation, compliance, and user experience makes it a leader in the identity verification space. As threats continue to evolve, Onfido’s proactive approach and collaborative spirit ensures it remains at the forefront of the fight against online fraud. By evaluating Onfido, businesses can feel confident that their digital doors are guarded by a knowledgeable and competent team of experts that can pave the way for secure and trustworthy interactions in the years to come.

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