How your heartbeat could do away with multiple passwords and PINs

Belfast Briefing: Start-up B-Secur says its software will remove need for passwords and pins

Fed up with endless passwords or PINs?

Perhaps like many other people you are increasingly worried about the amount of your personal information that is out there floating around on someone’s cloud?

It is only when you have been unfortunate enough to lose a device like your smartphone or laptop that you realise just how vulnerable you can be to someone hacking your personal accounts from your bank details to your emails and even treasured family photos.

It is the source of many virtual, cyber nightmares these days.


A Northern Ireland start-up is aiming to make any potential security issues like these disappear in a virtual heartbeat.

Belfast-based B-Secur has developed and patented technology to use the human heartbeat’s algorithm – which is unique in every living person – as a way to quickly and securely identify one person from the next.

Alan Foreman, chief executive of B-Secur, claims its "next generation technology" that will remove the need not only for passwords and PINS but could also one day make current biometric authentication like fingerprint, voice and iris redundant.


“We’ve developed what we believe will be the most secure, most cost effective and most sophisticated next generation biometric. Our medical grade ECG (electrocardiogram) biometric technology reads an individual’s heartbeat pattern to verify their identity.

“Our software can be used for example on a wrist device or any number of products like bank cards or even be built into cars and building access controls – it has a huge range of applications and because every individual’s heartbeat has a unique ECG and it is internal, it is much harder to defraud,” Foreman says.

Previously managing director at Accenture Life Sciences based in Manchester, where he had almost a two decade long career, Foreman came on board with B-Secur just over two years ago because he believes it offers "exciting, real possibilities".

He is clearly not the only one.

Earlier this year B-Secur was invited by the London Stock Exchange to join its ELITE programme, which helps ambitious, privately owned, growing businesses gain access to funding opportunities and connects them with key investors and corporate advisors.

It was also chosen by NYSE-listed Gartner, a prominent information technology research and advisory company, as one of its global Cool Vendors for 2016.

Gartner said: “B-Secur’s technology is cool because it leverages something that everyone possesses (a unique heartbeat wave pattern) to strengthen existing mechanisms for securing and accessing logical and physical systems such as banking payment cards to airport employee access control, from monitoring armed forces in the field, to children in the playground.”

It has recommended that the Belfast start-up is one to keep an eye on in the immediate future.

Funding opportunities

In the meantime, Foreman is also hoping that its participation in the LSE ELITE programme will quickly open the doors to new funding opportunities.

“Our business is quite resource intensive in the early days for research and development – we are a new company and we secured some early stage funding from a business in London but we will be looking for the next round of funding.

"I think it can be difficult for some early stage companies – who are pre-revenue to attract the level of funding they need, a London-based business saw our potential and backed us but not everyone has the appetite to take a risk – when they do however they can see as with B-Secur it can pay off for them. We may look to the United States for future funding," he says.

However Foreman doesn’t see any need to relocate B-Secur to the US to secure that new pipeline of funding.

“I am determined to keep our business and our people on these shores – we will use the US as a market but we are a Belfast-based business and our people are all over the world – in the world of digital there are no geographical boundaries – and there is a huge resource of talent in Belfast,” he says.

B-Secur is currently trialling some of its prototype products with a select number of partners, he believes that by next year it may be in a position to potentially license certain products.

“We are going through a high growth phrase – within five years time we aim to be working with some of the largest technology companies in the world – today we are working on bringing our products to market – and then? Its likely there will be an acquisition or a floatation on the list,” Foreman says.