Biometric identification technology may still be an emerging technology, but its usage is increasing rapidly around the globe, so the question is – what is it and how will we see it impact us as consumers? Biometric identification is how a person can be uniquely identified by evaluating one or more distinguishing biological traits, such as fingerprints, hand geometry, earlobe geometry, retina and iris patterns, voice waves, DNA and signatures. Companies worldwide are evaluating the use of biometric authentication to create physical access barriers as well as to protect sensitive data.
According to the 2018 State of Enterprise Information Technology (IT) Infrastructure & Security survey by Ping, 92% of organizations surveyed felt biometric authentication was effective at protecting on-premises information, while 86% felt it was effective in protecting cloud-based data. Despite the survey showing IT or Security professionals viewing this authentication method effective, it has a disproportionately low utilization rate of 28% for on-premises information and 22% for cloud-based data.
Biometric identification is not limited to just companies – individuals also use it when they use fingerprint scanners or unlock their phones with the facial recognition feature. Voice features are used to activate and interact with Alexa, Siri, Google, etc.
Some advantages of biometric authentication include more accurate identification and increased accountability, which can improve a system’s security and reduce the likelihood of a data breach. Accountability and security are also increased thanks to connecting personnel with specific actions or events.
Biometric systems are also efficient and easy to incorporate into the physical security system of a building because of its scalability and easy process to add or remove employees. The Return on Investment on a biometric system is very high as it is much more effective at avoiding fraud than most other security systems.
Consider these five key steps to keep your biometric information protected:
Additionally, virtual assistants such as Siri, Alexa and Google services store and process your unique vocal patterns. While vocal patterns may not be commonly used for authentication, most consumers probably wouldn’t want their data saved on a server somewhere – especially with the rise of deep fakes and other Artificial Intelligence created content.
Below are two examples of the impact of a biometric information data breach:
In April 2019, the CBP reported that it had used this biometric information to catch more than 7,000 visitors who overstayed their visa. Considering the Department of Homeland Security estimates that less than 2% of visa holders stay past their visa’s expiration date, and that many travelers to the United States do not hold visas, it can be extrapolated that the CBP has analyzed millions of innocent individuals with their biometric authentication technology. In fact, by 2023, the Department of Homeland Security aims to use facial recognition on 97% of all departing air passengers.
With new technology and new devices hitting the market constantly, the usage of biometrics will only increase but we need to be prudent in protecting our biometric data. Otherwise, we might reach a point where our biometrics mean nothing in the real or cyber world.
Doeren Mayhew’s dedicated IT Advisory and Security Group works closely with businesses to assess an organization’s security and identify solutions to ensure confidential data is protected. To learn more, contact us today.
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