Is Biometric Authentication the one-stop solution for security breaches?
Imagine, while you are sleeping, someone gets hold of your smartphone and puts your finger on the sensor to unlock it in order to retrieve some private information…Scary right? Well, this is just a simple daily life scenario which can cost you something which you wouldn’t even have dreamt of.
Someone somewhere might be taking a picture of your eye or ear and using the high-resolution technique, might easily get hold of your private data by breaking into the robust system. You never know.
Biometric security in simple words…
You might have a vague idea on how such type of authentication works. By recording your fingerprint, (need not be just that, it can be your eye scan, voice print, face scan etc.) your identification gets stored on the database with which the information can be accessed later on.
It works with two sets of data, one which is already set during recording and setup, and the other which belongs to the visitor who demands access. If both are identical, the access is granted.
How has Biometric authentication become so much popular among the masses?
Recently it has become a trend for several electronic devices like smartphones and laptops to use biometric systems for security. The users have eventually come up with an intuition that this method of securing their precious devices is the most trusted, unique way to prevent their data from getting leaked. The approach with which the complete setup functions in such a rapid manner, has resulted in billions of people getting more and more comfortable and welcoming it with open arms.
An obvious fact that tends to favor these gadgets more is that the person who is accessing it is not only the one who has the proper details and credentials but also the one who has been granted access and has the right to enter the area of restriction. This increases the level of trust on the user by the corporate even more.
Also, Fingerprint authentication has garnered more acceptance by the public rather than voice, facial and iris recognition. There may be several reasons behind this such as being conscious while scanning in order to gain the perfect posture for getting the facial/iris scans done. Fingerprinting requires less training than other methods. Small storage space for the print makes it much easier to handle in the database.
“No two people on this earth have the same fingerprint, not even twins”
According to several surveys and reports, such authentication is more popular among the mob, especially the younger people. The main factor coming into the picture is convenience. Obviously, who would not like the privileges of just scanning and unlocking the system? The fear behind being responsible for different passwords at different locations is enough to get diverted towards adopting this method and following the bandwagon ;)
The part where the debate actually starts…
I’m not saying that these systems are weaker or faultier than other forms of surveillance, that’s not the motive here at all, in fact, it has proven to be one of the most powerful means for security. But every invention in technology comes with its pros and cons right? And in the field where the security of a large population is involved, nothing can be taken for granted.
One of the most important points of concern is that the data stored in these kinds of integration becomes permanent for the database which can never be changed. Passwords and pin codes can be changed as and when required, unlike your bio-metric details.
There have been several cases, common ones which most of us might be aware of i.e. sometimes due to some skin disorder or infection, the skin gets peeled off, or the voice of an individual becomes rough temporarily, hence the change of the recorded elements. Definitely not 100% reliable, is it?
Also, not to forget, with technology on the rise, identity theft has become extremely common even without the person realizing it. Fingerprints left on an object or a high-resolution photo can simply provide what it takes to breach the authority. And as we know, once hacked, there is no option to even reset it, you cannot obviously change your finger now, can you?
When you set up the whole database and record the information for each and every individual, the security around it should be perfectly planned and guarded, one small act of carelessness can lead to complete break-in and thus a huge loss. Digitally checking and monitoring the bio-statistical information is a must.
Installing and setting up the complete unit for the required level of authentication can be very expensive and quite a dreary task at the same time, in comparison to the straightforward planting of password-based ideology.
In my personal opinion
Believe it or not, the world of bio-metrics is expanding gradually in almost all sectors of technology and surveillance. Sooner or later, these mechanisms will be present at almost every step of protecting information.
We need to reach the depths of the consequences behind the situation which can pose serious risks and vulnerabilities for the society before it gets too late. Other not so famous, potential methods of securing devices must also get equal chances which might, in turn, prove to be more beneficial and safe than the biometrics.
Taking some preventive measures like end-to-end encryption can help avoid faking of your identity theft to a great extent. Also, strong passwords and keeping the bio-statistical inputs restricted to a very limited number of places might be a few of the best solutions if you wish to use such authentication. Behavioral analytics is another measure suggested in which the biometric device catches hold of the culprit as a result of some abnormal or peculiar behavior.
After all, the only concern is to keep your information robust be it using whatever means of security system you wish and always beware of the technical breaches around you!
“I think the industry is going through a major transformation of its identity. Yes the identity industry is in search of a new identity, one that will help it survive the critical challenges that it faces…The opportunity to manage the identity of billions of mobile transactional people globally. That is where the battle is shaping up.”
Joseph Atick, Identity Counsel International