By 2020, biometric authentication and verification appear to be an integral part of the modern technology landscape. It is spread in more ways than most modern users understand it.
A study conducted by the IT network, Spiceworks, reveals that 57% of the organizations are using biometric technology with an approximately increase to 90% predicted by the end of 2020.
It means that it is likely that within the fast-growing professional world, biometrics is going to eventually take over from traditional authentication keys to handle several operational elements.
But, it can’t be said for sure that biometrics will replace any of these methods across the world for all access points.
Biometrics is an effective way to measure an individual’s physical characteristics to prove their identity. It includes physical traits like eyes or fingerprints, behavioural features; for instance, a unique way you might complete a security-authentication puzzle. For effective results, biometric data should be collectable, permanent, and unique.
Each time you unlock your smartphone screen with facial recognition, ask Siri for a weather update or even use online bank account service by using your fingerprints, you’re using biometrics.
We use this technology almost every day to verify your identity or communicate with a personal device. However, there are several other uses of biometrics technology as well. Like uses, there are disadvantages too.
In this post, we’ll discuss the two sides of this technology, so let’s read on.
- Types of Biometrics Data
- Pros of Biometrics Technology
- The Dark Side of Biometric Technology
- How to Protect Your Biometric Data?
Types of Biometrics Data
Biometrics data are of various types. Here are six types of biometrics data discussed briefly.
1) Face Recognition:
This method measures the unique pattern of an individual’s face by comparing and analyzing facial contours. Its extensive use is seen in security and law enforcement. However, it is also a way to prove identity and unblock devices like laptops and smartphones.
2) Iris Recognition:
It detects the unique patterns of a person’s iris (a picturesque area of the eye surrounded by the pupil). It’s widely used in security applications but mainly not used in the consumer market.
3) Fingerprint Scanner:
It captures the unique pattern of valleys and ridges present on a finger. Most of the laptops and smartphones use this method as part of the password to unlock the screen.
4) Voice Recognition:
It measures the sound waves in your voice as you speak to a device. Your bank might use this technology to authenticate your identity when calling about your account. You can also use it while giving instructions to a smart speaker like Amazon Alexa.
5) Hand Geometry:
It collects and records the length, surface area thickness, and width of a person’s hand. These devices were used previously back in 1980 in security applications.
6) Behavior Characteristics:
It analyzes the way you interact with a computer system. It includes your handwriting, keystrokes, the way you use a mouse, and other movements that can assess who you’re or how familiar you’re with the information you enter.
Pros of Biometrics Technology
According to the Ping Identity Survey, almost 92% of the enterprises surveyed rank biometric authentication in securing identity data. With this, the following are some of the other benefits of biometrics technology.
When there is accurate and appropriate information about entry and exit, it enhances the firm’s responsibilities. In any unfortunate case, there’s better proof of authentication backed by the data. The data is easy to analyze, confirm, and report as necessary.
2) Efficiency at Its Peak
Every company or organization demands highly efficient security systems. The biometric verification systems boost security and make it easier and more efficient to handle the critical functions like attendance tracking payroll.
It is even more helpful for the employees who don’t have to carry cards everywhere they go.
3) Highly Convenient
One of the critical benefits of biometric verification technology is convenience. There’s no need to reset the passwords. Once the biometric test becomes activated, all fingerprints and facial recognition are performed, and employees are good to go. It is more convenient to log the data and perform an audit.
Biometric solutions provide the best ROI compared to other security systems. You can keep track of hundreds of thousands of employees of a large company or enterprise with a single biometric device or software.
While you need to manage considerable resources to do the same job costing you more time than the accurate biometric solution?
5) Accurate and Quick Authentication and Identification
Using codes and passwords for security access is quite straightforward yet generic. Anyone with a card or pass can get access.
However, biometric security technology is the biological passcode that can’t be forged, which means accurate authentication and identification of the particular individual. Facial and iris recognition is becoming more integrated as part of the security process as scanning is easy and quick.
The Dark Side of Biometric Technology
During August 2019, one of the most significant biometric data breaches was reported. In this breach, researchers managed to gain access to a 23-gigabyte database of more than 27.8 million records.
It includes both fingerprint and facial recognition data. The incident highlights a fundamental problem with biometric security systems that uses people’s passwords.
Biometric technology is like a two-edged sword. The following are the risks associated with biometrics authentication.
1) Privacy at Sake
Most of the users including you feel that biometrics technology puts their privacy at significant risk. As data gets stored on a security system, there is a potential risk of some severe consequences of the servers, which saves the information fall victim to the hackers.
Such types of breaches have occurred in the past, and like it’s easy to compromise and alter passwords, fingerprints and other biometric data once stolen are at significant risk of being used again.
2) Feels Invasive
User acceptance is another disadvantage against the use of biometrics for security purposes. Individuals who feel uncomfortable with the idea of using biometrics view this practice as invasive.
Some are not comfortable while others feel uneasy in using their features as part of the company’s security network or storing their biometric information.
Intrusive security is known as a barrier to personal rights. As an alternative, such organizations need to consider a secondary means of protection for these workers.
3) Vulnerable to Data Breaches
It is quite evident that organizations that obtain and store users’ data are a threat to hackers. As biometric data is irreplaceable, companies need to treat it with great caution. If one’s passwords were to be compromised, there’s always a possibility of resetting it. However, the same thing can’t be said for face, fingerprints, or irises.
4) Tracking Digital Records
Biometric technology is still in its initial stage because it poses some serious questions to your privacy. When data is stored especially in a jurisdiction that is subject to secret warrants and surveillance, you’re leaving behind potential tracking opportunities by the government authorities.
For example, during the Hong Kong protest, the government used facial recognition technology to track the protesters. Your biometric data can emerge as a digital tag that authorities can use to recognize and monitor you for the rest of life.
How to Protect Your Biometric Data?
With regards to the cons of biometrics technology, the following mentioned below are some security measures you can practice to protect your biometric data from getting into the wrong hands.
- Be cautious of situations such as music festivals or other sporting events where biometric identification is collected.
- If any device or service seeks your biometric data, do check to make sure that data gets stored locally on the device and not in a cloud-based storage server or transmitted over the network.
- Enable two-factor authentication on your device to prevent hackers from invading your privacy.
- Avoid installing any unverified third-party apps within your device and clicking of suspicious links.
- Use strong and unique passwords that are difficult to crack. Keeping your biometric information is a few limited places that give hackers less chance to breach your data. For a robust password opt for password managers.
- The best way to secure your device is to keep your software updated. When your device manufacturer notifies you regarding software patch or update, install it soon to minimize the opportunity of your device being vulnerable to security flaws. Thus, it’s essential to keep your operating system and internet security software updated.
- Companies should use blockchain technology in devices to ensure the safety of the user’s biometric data. Blockchain technology is capable of storing your data in a distributed ledger that’s protected by cryptography in numerous devices” says Nathan Finch of Aussie Web Hosting. It means that only authorized parties can access the data, and any other user subscribed to the blockchain can detect any attempt made to alter the data.
No doubt, biometric technology is both useful and vulnerable at the same time but, if the security experts fix the issues so, it can emerge as the most powerful technology of the decade.