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The Digital Identity Cybersecurity Crisis with the Biometric Fingerprint Technology

Over the past decade, the world has witnessed unparalleled technological advancements. We are now living in an age where everything can be accessed and stored on our phones, including important password information and access to banking accounts.

In a digital world, a username, password or social media accounts can be used to access restricted areas, it allows us to transfer money, to make online purchases and to access our online accounts.

Although mobile phones come equipped with some level of security, the individual applications that we use on a daily basis can often leave us vulnerable to cybercriminals. In the wrong hands, our information can be used by cybercriminals to steal our online identity. This enables them to make large purchases, to withdraw funds from banks accounts or to take out large loans.

Personal data protection

Many members of the public remain unaware or un-phased by the dangers of providing small parts of personal information. Many would give out their phone number, date of birth and email address in an online survey, or for a free item.

Although these pieces of information are quite nominal, cybersecurity criminals can use these pieces of information to steal your identity. If used with reverse lookup services, a phone number can be used to find out where you live. From there, these criminals can find out all sorts of information that will allow your identity to be stolen.

It’s common for people to choose passwords and pins that are meaningful, as this makes them a lot easier to remember. Some even have the same password for each account, whether this is banking, credit cards, social media, email and so on. For many, a birthday is an easy pin number, so by trial and error hackers can often see quick results.

What are biometrics?

Biometrics are biological measurements (or physical characteristics) that can be used to identify individuals. For mobile phones and applications, these can create an additional impenetrable layer of security. Fingerprint mapping and now facial recognition have become commonplace for mobile phones in 2019.

As physical characteristics are fixed and individualized, meaning that it’s becoming much too difficult for individuals to falsify these features. Biometrics are set to become the leading authentication factor, with many big-named countries trialing voice recognition. Ford are also researching how to integrate biometrics into their cars.

Although it’s unlikely, biometrics can also be tricked as examples of fingerprint cloning are rife. For example, during the Black Hat cybersecurity conference demonstrated that a fingerprint can be cloned successfully in around 40 minutes.

However, this can only happen when a hacker has access to your fingerprint. This typically happens when somebody who you have direct contact with wants to access your phone or personal information, which is often much less sinister than a real hacker.

Protecting biometric identity

Biometric authentication is a convenient and simple way to create a security barrier. However, there is still a lot of stigma attached to these types of security measures. As many believe that information from biometric fingerprints can be stored and used by the government and the police.

Many individuals also believe that if a hacker wants to access your important information, they will find a way to do so. This lack of faith in the companies providing biometric authentication solutions creates its own set of issues. If users don’t trust their security measures, then they will be equally as susceptible to hacking.

Unlike other online verification methods, fingerprints cannot be shared, lost, stolen or guessed. This is a unique solution that ultimately provides security for consumers both offline and online. In order for this technology to be more widely used, it’s entirely within the realms of the provider to educate the consumer on the benefits, pros and cons.

Alice Porter

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Alice Porter

Alice Porter is an avid writer and an Alexa Developer, She aims to share her knowledge of multi-factor authentication and biometric authentication with like-minded individuals.

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