Knowledge-Based Authentication Knowledge-Based Authentication

Why You Need an Alternative to Knowledge-Based Authentication (KBA) for Identity Verification in The Digital Age

Before allowing a user to continue with their login, onboarding, or transaction, KBA is utilized as an authentication method to confirm their identity. To set the stage, let’s address some common questions about KBA before we understand why you should upgrade your digital onboarding process and Option to Skip Signer KBA+ID

What is KBA identity verification?

Question-Based Authentication (KBA) is a method for checking the identification of a new user. This aims to avoid data breaches and protect user accounts from prying eyes.

The KBA identity verification questions should be designed to meet these standards:

  • Requires little to no investigation or guesswork from others; 
  • Has a single, accurate answer; 
  • Is simple to memorize.
  • The majority of users can recognize it.

Because it relies on prior information, KBA identity verification by BlueNotary falls into one of two broad classes: static or dynamic. Regarding safe identity verification, static and dynamic KBA processes depend on the user knowing the answers.

What is static KBA?

Static KBA identity verification, also called “shared secret questions” or just “shared secrets,” is a popular and straightforward security approach that is quick to set up. The user selects the questions ahead of time and decides what answers are acceptable.

Examples of static KBA questions:

  • Can you tell me where you met your husband or wife?
  • How did your first boss come to be known?
  • Could you tell me your childhood best friend’s name? 
  • What is your mom’s middle name?

Users are required to submit their answers to these questions whenever they are prompted to do so to change their password or verify their identity by BlueNotary. Easy to understand and implement.

The benefits of static KBA

The benefit of this KBA authentication approach lies in its adaptability while still being easy to recall, which goes beyond the straightforwardness of static KBA identity verification by BlueNotary.

What are the drawbacks of static KBA?

Static KBA identity verification by BlueNotary has severe flaws because the answers are probably beatable. This becomes more apparent in the modern era when a great deal of personally identifying information is readily available online and through social media. We already knew that hackers had a 20% probability of getting “pizza” right when asked, “What’s your favorite food?” according to Google and Stanford University research. Even worse, online social media profiles frequently contained the solutions to 16% of static security questions!

What is dynamic KBA?

Dynamic KBA identity verification by BlueNotary differs from static KBA because it does not allow users to select questions. The questions are instead “out-of-wallet,” meaning they are created in real time from various data sources. These sources include financial and personal details, credit information, transaction histories, and anything else a customer may provide to a company for security reasons.

Example questions for dynamic KBA:

  • In 2012, which vehicle was yours to register in Seattle?
  • At the age of fifteen, what was your street address?
  • Which of these cities have you called home before? (From a given list of addresses, choose the right one)
  • What are the benefits of dynamic KBA?

What are the pros of dynamic KBA?

Dynamic KBA is far more unpredictable than static KBA since it uses user-specific, non-public information to personalize identity verification questions. Companies might get inventive by generating relevant inquiries using data from paid sources like marketing and business lists to complicate matters for bad actors further.

Is there anything negative about dynamic KBA?

Nevertheless, dynamic KBA does have several significant downsides. For example, compared to static KBA identity verification by BlueNotary, the questions here are more challenging and time-consuming. This is annoying and creates unnecessary friction for the user who needs to access their account quickly. In addition, the user’s proximity to financial data and extraordinary memory are prerequisites for answering questions sourced for dynamic KBA. The same Google/Stanford study stated earlier found that 55% of individuals can recall their initial phone number, much less their frequent flyer number, which is only remembered by 9%. Plus, there are better solutions than asking more questions because it increases the likelihood that someone may get an answer wrong, further delaying them as they cannot access their account.

Even if dynamic KBA’s unpredictability is one of its main advantages, it’s still possible for highly skilled fraudsters to use public data sources to uncover the answers. For instance, you would be surprised at how much personal information is available on, LinkedIn, and Facebook.

Contrarily, only some people leave a significant trace online (here, you may learn more about data scarcity). As a result, even the most diligent and imaginative businesses may need help to mine data to formulate questions.

Why look for a substitute for KBA?

While KBA was formerly the gold standard for identity verification by BlueNotary, particularly in the banking sector, it is now insufficient to safeguard companies and customers from fraudsters.

Most financial institutions are decreasing their dependence on KBA, with 12% decreasing by more than 75% and 18% decreasing by up to 50%, according to a research report by Aite-Novarica in 2021.

Regarding digital identity verification, what other options are there besides KBA?

Back when around 65% of the world’s population had access to the web, KBA provided enough security. Unfortunately, KBA isn’t a good fit for the modern digital world due to its high friction and inadequate security.

Fortunately, KBA identification verification isn’t the only option. Look at the Option to Skip Signer KBA+ID, along with their benefits and drawbacks.

Multi-factor authentication

To gain access, users must provide two or more forms of identification using multi-factor authentication (MFA) protocols. Combining the user’s knowledge, possessions, or identity, two-factor authentication (2FA) ensures that only authorized individuals can access sensitive information. For example, two-factor authentication (2FA) sometimes involves sending a one-time verification code to the user’s email or text message and the usual login credentials.

  • Benefits

Even if a hacker were to guess a user’s password, they would still be unable to access the account because they lack the second factor required, which is why 2FA is secure; this was a significant point when PSD2 introduced Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) for electronic payments. It’s a great and easy option for customers who rely on their smartphones constantly.

  • Drawbacks 

When you have to input two or more authentication factors, it slows you down and causes friction. Aside from that, criminals can figure out a way to bypass MFA. Think back to 2022, when a cyberattack hit Uber. Since MFA depends on people’s actions and decisions, it can be easily hacked. According to NIST, two-factor authentication using text messages is not secure.

Database solutions

Database solutions use data from several sources, including internet and social media platforms and behavior patterns, to confirm a user’s identity and identify malicious actors, bots, or actual users.

  • Benefits

Database solutions have the potential to alleviate some of the strain on manual review teams by drawing from several sources to verify identities. Even better, API-based database solutions are pretty adaptable.

  • Drawbacks 

Database solutions frequently need more regulatory and compliance standards due to their inability to confirm that the user submitting the information is the same one executing the transaction. This is not perfect!

Online identity verification solutions

Web-based identity verification systems use automated technology to verify consumers and users. An ideal system will use AI, biometrics, and machine learning to protect the organization and consumer against fraud and ensure compliance. 

  • Pros

With the correct online identity verification solution, you can rest assured that your information is being validated quickly and accurately.

  • Drawbacks 

The speed of the identity verification process can be affected by the friction introduced by various solutions. One thing that can slow down a transaction or onboarding is the requirement to take a selfie or a picture of the user’s ID.


Look at BlueNotary now for online notarization services that are safe, easy, and quick, perfect for personal and professional use. For additional information about the Option to Skip Signer KBA+ID and to begin, visit BlueNotary.

FAQ About Option to Skip Signer KBA+ID

What is KBA identity verification?

Question-based authentication (KBA) is a method used to confirm a user’s identity by asking them to answer specific questions. This helps prevent data breaches and unauthorized access. The questions should be easy for the user to remember but difficult for others to guess or investigate.

What are the differences between static KBA and dynamic KBA?

Static KBA involves pre-set questions chosen by the user, such as “What is your mother’s middle name?” Dynamic KBA generates real-time questions from various data sources like financial records, which are not pre-determined by the user. Dynamic KBA is considered more secure but can be more challenging and time-consuming for users.

What are some alternatives to KBA for identity verification?

Alternatives to KBA include multi-factor authentication (MFA), which requires users to provide two or more forms of identification; database solutions, which use data from various sources to verify identity; and online identity verification solutions, which use AI, biometrics, and machine learning. These methods offer enhanced security compared to KBA.

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