The use of biometric identification and authentication is proliferating in a number of applications, from employee identification to national identification and international airport security. An individual’s biometric signatures describe their physical and behavioral attributes.
We recognize biometric data such as fingerprints, voices, retinas or irises, DNA, and facial features.
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Convenience and great potential
There are many compelling reasons to use biometrics as a means of identification and verification. When customers transact online, these modern authentication methods satisfy their need for convenience and security.
Biometric technologies provide many advantages over traditional methods which use PINs or passwords for identification and verification.
Biometric signatures are convenient since there is no need to remember IDs or codes. They are also becoming increasingly accurate and sophisticated.
For example, Apple uses facial recognition on its iPhone X to authenticate users with 30,000 infrared dots projected on their faces. According to Apple, one in one million people becomes mistaken for the other.
In airports worldwide, biometric technology has also sped up lines, since passengers simply have to walk into a booth, look into a camera, have their iris and eyes scanned, and their data is compared with a database.
As police use video surveillance to fight crime, CCTV cameras are being used for law enforcement.
Biometric technologies are particularly beneficial for governments, enterprises, banks, hospitals, and other institutions in preserving sensitive records and swiftly and confidently validating a user’s identification.
In marketing, the potential of facial recognition has been discussed in terms of not only improving the consumer experience but also upgrading marketing strategies.
Technology can be utilised to effectively study and affect customer behaviour. Customers’ age and gender can be determined by cameras scanning their faces, and the algorithm can take into account time, date, and purchases.
Security Risks and Identity Theft
The way individuals engage online is continuing to be shaped by increased exposure to biometric technology. While most people praise the technology for its ease of use, convenience, and performance, stakeholders are voicing legitimate concerns about how it opens up new ways for privacy to be violated in unprecedented ways.
Biometric data is simple to hack, and the repercussions of misusing it might be disastrous. At the forefront is how IoT devices and services are increasingly collecting, storing, and transmitting private information on the cloud, leaving them more vulnerable to identity theft.
Biometric technology, unlike codes and encryption keys, captures a single unique identity that can never be changed.
Biometric data is vulnerable to identity-based risks due to its static nature. Biometric data that has been compromised is an easy target for hackers. Hackers can easily steal someone’s identity or use and tamper with sensitive information that could be dangerous to their lives if they have access to biometric data.
Biometric data security concerns are centred on how sensitive data is recorded, stored, processed, transmitted, and accessed. Biometric data can be utilised and accessed in a variety of ways, with little or no regard for its sensitivity and immutability.
Even if it is not used to authenticate or authorise, modern mobile phones, tablets, and cameras acquire and store some biometric data.
Virtual assistants on a variety of devices save and process your unique voice patterns in the cloud. The use of CCTV cameras to follow people using facial recognition technology raises severe concerns about the blurring of security and surveillance lines.
The system makes use of a central storage database that houses a large and diverse range of data.
On its journey to be stored and secured, moving data must be encrypted. Hackers target this database, breaking into the system and stealing information that isn’t properly protected.
Biometric indications can also be harmed by spoofed sensors, sensor unreliability, host system misconfigurations, and other fraud techniques.
In 2015, the US Office of Personnel Management was hacked, which was one such instance. The fingerprints of 5.6 million government employees were stolen by cybercriminals, leaving them vulnerable to identity theft.
More recently, a paper published in August 2019 by security researchers Noam Rotem and Ran Locar of Vpnmentor reveals a huge breach discovered in a biometrics system utilised by the UK Metropolitan Police, banks, and defence contractors.
According to the report, over a million people’s facial recognition records, fingerprints, log data, and personal information were discovered on a publicly available database.
Technology and discipline are used to defend against threats
Keeping biometric data obtained through advanced authentication technology secure is a concern that needs to be addressed.
According to Joseph Atick, one of the scientists who helped develop the technology that allows computer systems to recognize faces, there needs to be more protections, and a greater societal understanding of privacy considerations to stop people from abusing biometric technology.
The Speaker said that biometric technology has legitimate uses, but there should also be a framework that shows that certain things can’t be done with this technology.
Ironically, these automated technologies may be invading privacy, but they’re also the same tools that can deter identity theft and combat fraud. Having the discipline to exert greater control over how data is accessed and used is the solution. A great deal of effort must be put into educating people and organizations about how their biometric information is processed and stored.
IT security solutions should also be applied to make a user’s identity unintelligible during data collection, improving the security and efficiency of the biometric system. To prevent fraud, they can implement a strategy that uses multiple authentication and security measures.
With GoVerifyID, for example, Image Ware ensures that each person’s biometrics are encrypted, anonymously stored in the cloud, and retrieved for real-time verification. It does not use traditional passwords to safeguard the information. GoVerifyID users can access secure data by taking a self-portrait or speaking a phrase on a mobile device.
Businesses determine the situations and events triggering biometric verification requests. The user’s mobile device receives such requests, and the device can then capture biometrics that are compared to enrolled data in GoVerifyID. In this way, businesses get instant, anonymous, and secure verification in real-time.
Biometric Technology In Future
It remains to be seen whether biometric technologies will ever be fully secure. It will continue to revolutionize the way we conduct online transactions. Automation will see widespread adoption primarily due to its speed and convenience.
People will be increasingly at risk of losing their privacy and security as they continue to give their biometric information away to multiple platforms and providers. Biometrics are still based on a centralized database, and hackers with malicious intent can find ways to steal data from computer networks.
We need stronger and more sophisticated security services as hackers lift their game and change tactics.
Increased education and understanding about how biometric data is processed and kept is required to avoid identity theft and safeguard against fraudulent conduct. As more stakeholders see biometric technology’s enormous potential, countries throughout the world are pushing to enact rules.
People’s rights must be adequately secured, and their data in the hands of both commercial and public entities must be managed wisely and sensibly, according to these standards.
The Commercial Facial Recognition Act of 2019, introduced in the United States Congress, is one such example. The measure aims to make it such that firms must obtain consent before following people using facial recognition technology and exploiting the information for surveillance or profiling.
Several legislation in the European Union provide citizens more control over their personal and biometric data. Biometric data is classified as “special categories of personal data” by the EU data privacy regulation, which bans its “handling.” It safeguards EU citizens and residents’ personal data from being shared with third parties without their permission.
Measures aimed at enhancing organisational security are included in the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for member states. It mandates that businesses who encounter a data breach notify authorities within 72 hours of discovering the issue.
Companies that handle biometric data may face severe penalties if they do not take reasonable precautions to protect their data. It is expected to achieve 20 million euros, or 4% of total annual global revenue.
These global movements demonstrate that biometric technologies are rapidly evolving, and legislation must follow pace.
To safeguard digital data and ensure that biometric technology will properly shape human identity authentication applications, difficult technological, people, process, and policy concerns must be solved.