The world relies more and more on technology to ensure our important data and personal details are protected due to the increasing cohort of bad actors intent on making off with the digital keys to our personal lives and finances.
The businesses that manage our finances mandate that we prove we are who we say we are. Likewise, companies that manage our medical, personal, and private information are constantly devising new technologies to ensure this restricted information isn’t accessible to others. Remembering dozens of passwords is difficult.
Always carrying a security token is not a realistic solution but biometrics can play a big part in keeping us safe. Biometrics can make us more secure without inconveniencing us, and inconvenience is one of the main reasons consumers push back on extra security.
Passwords are the Achilles heel into most of our personal information, meaning if a hacker gets your password from one data breach, they can apply it to dozens of other websites causing significant damage. Not surprisingly, stolen or easily-guessable passwords featured in over 80 percent of data breaches, according to the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report.
Biometrics helps to remove that issue through authenticating you through “something you are”— a fingerprint scan, voice recognition, or face recognition to grant you access.
Main Areas Where Biometrics Can Make Us Safer Without Making Our Lives More Complicated
1. When You’re Paying with a Debit or Credit Card
Credit and debit card fraud are on the rise, with nearly $22 billion in losses in 2015. Retailers spend over $6 billion on fraud prevention every year. Although the movement to CHIP and PIN (EMV) cards will help in the long-term, biometrics also make a big difference.
What if, instead of signing a screen or receipt that never gets checked, you could use a fingerprint to make a purchase? How about a card reader that measures the speed and pressure of how you sign your name and uses that to authenticate who you are?
2. Being Able to Drive Your Car
Every year, over 700,000 motor vehicles are stolen in the U.S. Adding biometrics to cars could significantly reduce that amount. A dashboard camera could scan your face before allowing you to drive the vehicle, or seat sensors could use your physical characteristics to verify you. A rear-view mirror could even use iris identification to let you drive away.
3. Getting Into Your Home
Home security is big business, and door locks are notoriously easy to crack or pick. Instead of a mechanical lock, biometrics could use facial or fingerprint recognition to let you into your house. Biometrics could also be integrated into your alarm system, for example, you could use speech recognition to turn off your alarm.
4. Keeping Your Computer Secure
With the wealth of information we store on PCs and laptops, keeping them secure should be a priority. Fingerprint scanners are already built into laptops, and PCs could use voice recognition or other biometrics so that only authentic users can access them.
5. Securing Your Smartphone
Smartphone technology is one area where we’re already seeing good use of biometrics. Facial recognition, voice authentication, and fingerprint readers are already being incorporated by mobile phone manufacturers. The Apple and Android operating systems are providing better options for biometric protection. This is becoming increasingly important as we store more and more data on our phones and use them to make payments.
6. Keeping Your Bank and Financial Transactions Safe
Although many banks use multifactor authentication to protect account holders, the technology is being extended further. For example, when you call your bank, investment firm, or utility company, voice recognition can authenticate you are who you say you are. That makes it safer to move money around, change your portfolio, or pay your bills.
7. Enhancing Wearable Tech
There are big trends in wearable tech for tracking fitness and other important information. This tech is often very expensive, so being able to tie it to a particular user makes it much less attractive to thieves. Since you’re already wearing it, using biometric sensors to key it to your particular physical characteristics is easy.
If we’re serious about protecting consumers, businesses need to grapple with the dilemma of convenience and security. Biometrics is one of the most ideal ways to give consumers the protection they need without the hassle often associated with other types of authentication and security.
As marketing lead for Crossmatch, John is actively involved in championing identity management and biometrics technology solutions. His involvement and fascination with leveraging technology to address unique business challenges began earlier in his career, as Product Manager for GE’s Imagination Breakthrough innovation, VeriWise, a satellite-based asset intelligence and tracking solution for the transportation industry. He later went on to run sales and marketing for Vectronix, Inc., a subsidiary of a Switzerland-based producer of electro-optic and north-finding devices for military and law enforcement applications. John currently serves on the Board of the International Biometrics & Identity Association (IBIA).