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The Digital Authentication and Verification Timeline

A look over the years.

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Canada has entered a new age of digital connectivity, making everyday tasks such as banking, shopping, and accessing government services not only quick and convenient, but in many ways more accessible. As Canadians transact in a world that gives them more choice over digital solutions than ever before, the need for added security has grown, too. With methods that include fingerprint scans, facial recognition, and validating your personal credentials and information, “digital verification” may sound new. However, the concept of verifying one’s identity through digital channels is older than the internet itself, though the methods are frequently updated by some of the industry’s leading minds in digital security.

While the history of digital verification is vast – let’s explore a few moments in its history.


Invention of the password

As a way to make sure computer results get to the right person and no one else, Fernando Corbató invents the computer password at MIT. This is considered the first use of digital verification.


Biotech hits the shelves

Biometric authentication technology, which includes hand, fingerprint, face and iris scanners, is developed and made commercially available. While initially a somewhat clunky method with large scanners, this technology eventually evolves to be a common method used to unlock our devices.


Multi-factor authentication to securely access money in Canada

The debit card arrives in Canada, with all Canadian banks offering them by 1994. Debit cards are an early widespread use of multi-factor authentication, requiring the physical debit card along with a digital personal identification number (PIN) to access money through a bank account.


Invention of CAPTCHA

Robots everywhere are dismayed as the Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart (commonly known as CAPTCHA) is invented at Carnegie Mellon University, making the method of retyping a random set of keys or choosing specific images the first line of defense for many web sites.


Continued multi-factor authentication use

Multi-factor authentication, such as inputting a code for a new trusted device or confirming sign-in via email, sees wider use through varied login methods, trusted devices, and more.


Authentication and transaction encryption to send and receive money

Making use of encryption technology, Interac e-Transfer launches, allowing individuals with a Canadian bank account to electronically send or receive payments within the country after being digitally authenticated through their email or phone number and a security question and answer.


Social sign-in takes off

Facebook launches Facebook Connect, an early version of social sign-in that users still use today. With this solution, users could log in to participating apps and sites using their Facebook account.


Financial institution credentials to access government services

The launch of Interac sign-in service (formerly Government Sign-In by Verified.Me), enables Canadians to use trusted credentials from their participating financial institutions to securely access government services.


Tokenization to secure mobile transactions

Among the first in the world for a domestic debit network, the Interac Token Service Provider (TSP) enables secure mobile debit payments in Canada by substituting a consumer’s financial information with a randomly generated sequence of numbers (a token), which is meaningless to unauthorized parties.


Identity verification through Canada’s financial institutions

Canada’s early adopter financial institutions begin onboarding Interac verification service (formerly Verified.Me), providing a way for users to easily and securely verify their identities in order to access services online or in person.


Interac sign-in service surpasses 100 million transactions


Interac Verified debuts

Interac introduces Interac Verified, the new name for its verification business arm, marking the organization’s foray beyond payments and its evolution in helping Canadians transact online.