Biometric Systems Overview
As users increasingly demand frictionless authentication everywhere, biometrics solutions have garnered significant attention for both authentication and fraud prevention — especially on mobile and IoT devices. Furthermore, as their
adoption increases, they will hasten the demise of the industry’s least user-friendly method — passwords.
Nontraditional Modalities Show Promise, But They Are Playing Catch-Up
Several newer modalities, such as behavioral and electrocardiogram biometrics, show potential via mobile or continuous authentication, but they face stiff competition from established modalities such as fingerprint, face, and voice biometrics that are also going mobile.
Biometrics Tuning Is Mandatory
As you strive to provide users with a frictionless registration and authentication experience, make sure the solution performs at scale with an acceptable level of false positives and negatives.
Privacy Of Samples Will Make Or Break Biometrics
To ensure user acceptance and compliance, you have to reduce the likelihood that biometric samples will suffer a compromise. To this end, use vendors that store only a subset of encrypted mathematical characteristics and parameters of biometric samples.
Biometrics Helps Businesses Achieve Password-Free Authentication
With the continued shift to online commerce, banking, and other customer engagement, secure authentication and verification of a user’s identity online have become essential to the success of today’s digital business. While passwords still play a role here, biometric authentication has enjoyed a comeback in the past three years.
- Mobile devices with low-cost (and accurate) biometric sensors have proliferated. Although early implementations were clumsy and required special readers that were costly and difficult to use, the adoption of mobile devices has changed everything. With walled-garden application stores, mobile operating systems are less prone to malware infections and, thus, are more secure. They also sport low-cost and improving accuracy fingerprint readers, cameras for facial recognition, and microphones for voice biometrics.
- The deterioration of password security strength necessitates biometrics. Today, it takes just nine hours for a computer to crack an eight-character-long nondictionary password containing two nonidentical numbers, one uppercase letter, and two special characters. With clustered computers and the exponential growth in computing capacity, in just two to three years, the password will be inadequate to protect payment-grade or high-risk transactions. Security pros need to start thinking about how to reliably augment and eventually replace password-based authentication — today.
- Customers demand frictionless authentication, which biometrics can deliver. Not only are passwords easy to crack, but they often provide a terrible user experience, particularly on mobile devices. Complex passwords are very hard to type on small smartphone keyboards, especially in distracted situations. Using biometric authentication on mobile devices is must faster and requires much less customer interaction and, thus, reduces friction.
- Mobile applications require the out-of-band authentication of biometric solutions. As most firms pursue a mobile-first application development and delivery strategy, passwords in combination with push notification with one-time passwords (OTP) and device-based certificates don’t provide sufficient protection against account takeovers using lost and stolen devices. In a mobile app, the second factor of multi-factor authentication (MFA) is increasingly a biometric authenticator — whether the authentication happens on the server or host, not the client or device.
- Biometrics will give security pros great control of physical-logical convergence. Use of mobile devices for NFC, Bluetooth, and QR code scanning for physical access control has helped security pros reduce the costs of issuing and managing building access control tokens by allowing mobile devices to replace plastic badges. With mobile-based tokens such as Usher and Swivel, authenticating the user to the token is much more seamless, especially with biometric authentication.
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An article first published by Andras Cser and Alexander Spiliotes