Forget “Forgot My Password”

Biometrics are the Future of Identity

The password is a relic from the early days of computing has long outlived its usefulness, and certainly, its ability to keep criminals at bay. More than two-thirds of people use the same, usually not-very-strong password across dozens of different accounts. Weak passwords and stolen identities are the No. 1 source of data loss. Last year alone, 81% of major data breaches could be traced back to one individual’s compromised identity.

According to a 2015 study, 75% of adults reuse passwords for multiple accounts. More than half of consumers use less than five passwords throughout their life. Plus, 47% of consumers have not changed their passwords in at least five years.

These numbers, along with an increase in data breaches over time, have many wondering how secure consumer data is online. Are ordinary people capable of keeping their personally identifiable information (PII) safe online? Governments and businesses are looking for ways to secure authentication practices online. Biometric technology may provide the answer to this growing security problem.

Biometry is Defined

Biometry is an applications that can identify unique physical characteristics or traits of the human body. Differences from one person to another server as a way to authenticate an individual. Details such as retina, iris, fingerprint, palm print, behavior, and DNA are great examples of this technology.

This futuristic technology can collect and store this information and recall it match a person’s identity.

iris scanning

The Problem with Passwords

Only 42% of millennials—people between the ages of 20-36—use complex passwords and 41% of them reuse the same password multiple times. In contrast, 49% of consumers over the age of 55 use complex passwords and 31% of them reusing the same password multiple times. People over the age of 55 also use an average of 12 passwords while Generation Z—people between the ages of 18-20—use an average of 5.

This suggests that from generation to generation, password security has gone down among individuals. This does not mean they have given up on security though. Security has actually been ranked the highest priority among individuals, over convenience and privacy for logging into online applications.

All of this information suggests that reliance on passwords for security has gone down over time, and instead many younger people are moving toward biometrics as a way to secure their online identities.

Assimilation in ID Verification

The IBM study declared that over 67% of consumers are currently comfortable using biometric technologies. More specifically, 75% of millennials are comfortable with the technology. Users are interested in seeing this technology become a more integrated part of account security solutions, with specific ranking in the following order:

  • Fingerprint Recognition:
    • 72% of consumers are interested in using it to verify identity
    • 67% of consumers are interested in using it to make payments
  • Eye Scan:
    • 45% of consumers are interested in using it to verify identity
    • 39% of consumers are interested in using it to make payments
  • Facial Recognition:
    • 40% of consumers are interested in using it to verify identity
    • 36% of consumers are interested in using it to make payments
  • Voice Recognition:
    • 32% of consumers are interested in using it to verify identity
    • 25% of consumers are interested in using it to make payments
  • Vein Pattern Recognition:
    • 18% of consumers are interested in using it to verify identity
    • 18% of consumers are interested in using it to make payments
  • Behavioral Biometrics:
    • 17% of consumers are interested in using it to verify identity
    • 14% of consumers are interested in using it to make payments

Industries are taking notice of consumer trends and beginning to incorporate things like palm scanning more into our everyday lives.

Consumers will see smartphones with this technology more and more. For example, fingerprint sensors, face recognition on the Apple X to retinal scanning on Samsung smartphones.

Financial institutions and credit card providers are also working to incorporate it into their systems. They believe this technology will help reduce global financial crime and secure customer identity information.  They offer the ability to authenticate a user’s identity before a transaction takes place, creating a more secure method for transactions to take place.

Credit companies may be using smart credit cards for identity authentication which will offer many benefits. Most notably, it would eliminate the need to remember multiple passwords and PIN numbers. Smart cards with fingerprint verification will confirm identities, making them more secure than passwords and PIN numbers. They provide a way to authenticate an identity that cannot be lost by an individual.

Credit Cards with EMV chip

MasterCard announced in 2017 that they are working on developing a smart card, combining EMV chip technology with fingerprint scanning to safely and securely verify cardholder identities during in-store purchases.

The card they are developing works in the following way:

  1. Cardholder enrolls their card by registering with their financial institution
  2. During registration, their fingerprint is converted and stored into an encrypted digital template on the card
  3. When making an in-person purchase at a store, the cardholder places their card into the payment terminal and places their finger on the embedded sensor
  4. Once the fingerprint is verified against the template, the transaction is approved

This technology is promising because it provides a way to authenticate users during in-person transactions without needing retailers to update their terminals. They are still able to use the same EMV reader terminals they currently use. Furthermore, the cards do not connect to the internet, keeping the information on the card secure. The cards also able to store multiple fingerprints, allowing multiple authorized users to access the card.

Increase in Use Over Time

As time continues, technology will continue to become commonplace in our lives. The technology offers us a way to authenticate our identities without compromising our PII. We will see more use cases pop up in a variety of different sectors. As this happens our personal data will become more secure. It is our hope that biometric technologies will offer us an effective solution to fight against financial crimes like personal identity theft and money laundering.

Alex McGinness
Alex McGinness

Alex is passionate about making the world a better place. She believes she can change the world, and one way she can do that is by helping businesses grow online through digital marketing. She excels at branding, graphic design, web design, social media management, and content writing. Alex finds the most success when she is working with companies that produce services or products that make the world a better place. She enjoys working with a collaborative team that is organized, goal-oriented and harmoniums. At IDMERIT, she manages their digital presence online as their in-house marketing coordinator. Her goal is to showcase the IDMERIT brand as a leader in global identity verification services.

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