Can Biometrics Help Digital Security?

Media Division | December 4, 2013

Researchers all over the world are working to replace passwords with iris / fingerprint scans and voice recognition. Some people state biometric authentication will never “make it”. Why? First of all, the downsides of fingerprints, such as burns, cuts and other types of injuries. Many traces of body products interfere with fingerprint readers.

Many companies are still combining fingerprint scan with passwords for maximum security. Apple’s security safeguards for iPhone 5S Touch ID say:

To configure Touch ID, you must first set up a passcode. Touch ID is designed to minimize the input of your passcode; but your passcode will be needed for additional security validation, such as:

  • After restarting your iPhone 5s
  • When more than 48 hours have elapsed from the last time you unlocked your iPhone 5s
  • To enter the Touch ID & Passcode setting

Facial recognition poses challenges too. Based on the measurement of sizes, shapes, and distances between our eyes, nose, jaw, and cheekbones, this technology has been reported not to work properly in many cases.

Researcher Manas Prathak says that voiceprints can be stolen like any type of password data. A more advanced technology and protocol is needed to make sure voice recognition is carried out without causing further security issues.

It seems there’s no magic bullet for digital security.

The research carried out at Purdue University’s International Center for Biometrics Research aims to discover if biometrics can really help us save time and be more secure. Director Stephen Elliott is sure such technology “can make our life easier”. His team is testing whether this type of scans are subject to vulnerabilities or weaknesses.

Some companies are actually using fingerprint scans in ther daily operations. Some KFC restaurants in the US have their workers access cash registers by putting their finger on a scanner.

Military forces have devices for scanning faces, fingerprints and other biometric indexes for investigating purposes.

Security, however, is still a matter of debate in those industries where data protection is worth millions. Especially in finance and banking, it looks like biometric authentication has not been able to go mainstream yet.

Will biometric authentication will replace passwords in the near future?

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