The history of bio-metrics used as an authentication tool dates to the 1800s. It was first used by the French to identify criminals through their fingerprints, which later the English police commissioner, Edward Henry, developed HCS “Henry Classification System”. It was a system that relied on fingerprints to identify people who have been prosecuted, it was a prime way of classification used by the police during the 20th century. As the years continued, new biological traits started being used in bio-metric authentication which in result are replacing traditional methods of authentication.
Any invention introduced in the cyber world has a flaw, nothing is 100% secure, this applies to bio-metric authentication as well. Being able to identify yourself in a contact-less way is convenient but how do you ensure the safety of your data? And what are the different types of bio-metric authentication available?
What is Bio-metric Authentication and its 3 Types?
Bio-metric authentication refers to a security process that depends on biological attributes such as fingerprints, irises, voices, facial features, and even ear shapes to validate a user’s identity. This type of authentication is not something recent as many assume, it dates back in history earlier than we think. Passwords were invented in 1961, while the usage of fingerprints started approximately 80 years earlier. Companies and organizations are now upgrading and opting to use bio-metrics as their main method to identify their clients rather than the traditional utilization of passwords. According to Frost & Sullivan’s bio-metrics report, the market of bio-metric technology will reach $45.96 billion in 2024 and a soaring $76.64 billion 3 years later, as predicted in another report (Research and Markets Global Bio-metrics Industry Report 2020). These statistics confirm the prominence of the bio-metric authentication market and how in the following years it will surpass the old-fashion passwords method of authentication.
In 2011, Motorola released the first phone that opens via fingerprint which became very popular among society for its convenience, 2 years later Apple introduced the Touch ID then upgrading to the Face ID 4 years after. Many were satisfied with these new features and amazed by the advancement of technology. This improved Apple’s sales, which encouraged fellow companies to follow suit and utilize different types of bio-metric authentication.
There are three main types of bio-metrics, biological, behavioral, and morphological:
The first is biological bio-metrics which depends on the usage of genetic and molecular characteristics which include elements like your DNA, blood, and saliva. An individual’s identity is determined by analyzing their genetic segments. This type of bio-metric authentication is mainly used by forensic scientists, they use the information from the blood samples to profile bodies or present the DNA results as a piece of evidence in court cases.
The second is behavioral. This type of bio-metrics incorporates the structure of your body. It is a branch of science concerned with the measurement of uniquely identifiable and measurable patterns in human behavior such as how you talk, walk and the way you type on a keyboard, etc. Government facilities and financial institutions are the main business that employ this type of authentication, especially mobile banking apps because it adds an extra layer of security by evaluating the unique ways users interact with their devices, such as keystrokes, swipe patterns, scroll speed, and so on. This type of authentication involves many methods such as Voice IDs, signature analysis in addition to gait analysis.
Lastly, is morphological which is the most used by organizations and companies. It involves physical traits such as fingerprints, vein patterns, face shape, and eyes. As mentioned previously, mobile devices that opened with your fingerprint were the first to generate interest in morphological identification. It introduced convenience and a sense of security that passwords do not offer. And currently, most working facilities use fingerprints for the employees to clock in. The most advanced types are vein and iris recognition. In vascular bio-metrics, it captures vein images in eyes, palms, and fingers and they use this type of identification in law enforcement, border control, and corporate banking.
The popularity of this type of authentication has increased which led to customers not feeling secure with the use of PINs, passwords, or ID numbers to protect their data, and many do not expect that even bio-metric methods of authentication experience security breaches and are vulnerable to attacks.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Bio-metric Authentication?
Banks, hospitals, and companies have implemented the usage of contact-less authentication since 2013 and unfortunately, society only concentrated on its benefits neglecting the possible risks. A survey conducted by Visa revealed that a high percentage of people, reaching 86%, were more comfortable with using bio-metric authentication than traditional passwords. With this large acceptance and reliability on bio-metrics, it led to companies ensuring the security of their bio-metric devices to secure the data of their clients because once it has been breached, there is no coming back.
The advantage of bio-metrics is the contact-less feature especially with the recent pandemic the world is weary of its surroundings making bio-metrics the safer option. Also, one of its perks is not being able to lose or forget your means of identification unlike a password or pin leaving the individual with a sense of security. This led healthcare institutions to invest in contact-less authentication to limit and prevent identity theft and this investment will reach $2,848.3 million by the end of 2021.
As for the disadvantages, the cost of these machines and occasional inaccuracy is one of its drawbacks. Also, when a person’s physical traits have the slightest change, such as a cut or a burn on a finger or wearing contacts, the machine will not be able to verify their identity. A major problem is when a person’s bio-metric information has been stolen it cannot be altered, unlike passwords. Due to it being a characteristic ingrained in a persona DNA and physicality. But hacking scares are limited due to it being more complex to do so but a group of German researchers were able to prove otherwise. They tricked a vein authenticator with a hand made of wax and with multiple tries they were successful. Jan Krissler, one of the researchers, “was quite surprised that it was so easy” which opened the eyes of others.
The reliability of this is still at question, can organization trust their data with these machines?
Every service available in the cyber world has advantages and disadvantages but with the right precautions and knowledge, it could limit any damage and provide its users with a safer experience. The reliability and security of bio-metric authentication is still disputed but one cannot deny the convenience and benefits of it. Companies and organizations have become dependent on it and many more are adapting to these changes and what is important is being aware that it is not risk free and is vulnerable to a cyber breach. Revolutionary achievements have occurred in the bio-metric world, and it continues to do so. Companies must be extra diligent in how that data is stored if they are planning to utilize it to secure sensitive data.
Does convenience outweigh safety?
Share this article:
With the increasing number of people moving from rural to urban areas, Smart cities have become the main attraction for many. The concept of Smart cities began between 1960 and 1970, but countries started prioritizing this idea in 2010. Yokohama, Japan, was the first city to be designated as a smart city demonstrator in 2010, two years later, Barcelona introduced data-driven urban services, such as public transportation, waste management, and street lighting, Cities are becoming more technologically empowered, and in order to capture opportunities and generate long-term success, they must become smarter. Unfortunately, cities that take this step neglect an ...3rd Oct 2021
With technology evolving day by day, new developments are being made to align with today’s fast-paced society and especially with remote work culture where we don’t meet people as often as we used to. Any business or organization must take this into consideration to keep up with the current trends. One of the notable evolvements that occurred is the means of communication. The way we communicate with one another changes as technology evolves. Calls, formerly, were the most common way for businesses to communicate with their customers, however, it has been revealed that 87% of the 97% of customers who reject calls from businesses, ...1st Sep 2021
The healthcare industry is known for being one of the primary targets for cybercriminals, and by 2020 it was ranked as the seventh most attacked sector. Unfortunately, hospitals, clinics, and medical laboratories have experienced a rise in these attacks in the last two years. And with the recent pandemic, cybercriminals took advantage of this event and launched many of their destructive plans. These attacks are mainly motivated by financial gain. They either sell the stolen data or request ransom money from their victims to enable them back access to their data. For instance, at the end of 2020, a major ...1st Aug 2021
Since the beginning of 2020 due to COVID-19 people have been social distancing and staying indoors as much as possible. Due to that the use of the Internet, E-commerce sites, and E-government operations have increased immensely and so have the attempts at phishing attacks. His Excellency Dr. Khaled bin Abdullah Al-Sabti, Governor of the Cybersecurity Authority, spoke during the opening of the Global Cybersecurity Conference on April 7th, 2021, about the high increase in phishing sites by about 300% and the importance of being aware. Below (Figure A-1 & A-2) we can see two different examples of Smishing Attacks during ...31st May 2021
Cyber-attacks come in a variety of formats and with the advancement of technology it continues to improve. Phishing is a common type of cyber-attack used by cyber criminals, and according to Proofpoint’s threat report, 75% of organizations experienced a Phishing attack in 2020 (Proofpoint 2021 state of the Phish report). Cyber criminals found a higher success rate in achieving their goals thorough email phishing rather than any other approach. This is due to the lack of awareness and knowledge on how to identify legitimate emails from fake ones. There are many ways that could help organizations in decreasing the numbers ...31st May 2021
Social engineers have found numerous approaches to exploit victims of their personal information. With the continuous increase of new cyber threats, society should be constantly informed and educated on how to distinguish and prevent them. Due to the direct interaction with the human user, social engineering is one of the most powerful methods of network penetration. Its success rate depends highly on the targeted individual’s knowledge and awareness. If they are oblivious of their tactics, then this makes the attacker’s job easy. Unfortunately, many fall for their schemes. Social engineering depends on human interactions and the flaws of humans. According ...29th Apr 2021
With the hit of the global pandemic and its effect on the world, cyber criminals took this to their advantage and capitalized on it. From the beginning of 2020, people’s lives changed drastically but especially employees and students. Online schooling and working from home are now the new norm and people needed to make this new adjustment while experiencing new threats and tactics from cyber criminals. Before the pandemic, cyber-attacks were a continuous issue for many but with more educational information on how to catch on to their tricks led to lower percentages of successful scams. But now, these criminals ...31st Mar 2021
Phishing attacks are not something that has come up recently. Such attacks have been around since the mid 90s, however, overtime, they have become more sophisticated. To make things worse, did you know that 32% of confirmed data breaches involved phishing? (Verizon 2019 Data Breach Investigations Report) And 57% of the organizations report having experienced mobile phishing attacks! (Wandera’s 2020 Mobile Threat Landscape Report). Before moving on to the latest trends in phishing, let us define it. What is Phishing? Phishing is one of the easiest and most common types of cyber attacks used by criminals and among the easiest ...25th Feb 2021
Introduction: In the early days, Cybersecurity (then called IT Security or information security) used to be merely a username and password. If you ask to someone, they would say I have a username and password so I am safe. It wasn’t much of the internet at that time. Eventually, people have learned that password isn’t sufficient to protect their digital assets. So Antivirus (AV) software flourished and we saw a plethora of internet security solutions that revolve around AVs used to catch the known malicious code which was enough of a validation for the vendors. Again, fast forward a couple ...21st Jan 2021