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Passwords or biometric solutions? What does the future hold?

by | Biometric Authentication, ID verification and Biometrics Industry

In a scenario where owning a smartphone is a must, and having an internet connection is the norm, we spend a significant part of our lives in the digital world. Biometric solutions play an important role in providing security. 

In the online world, we are living a virtual life where we can make friends, engage in conversations with them, make purchases or have fun with different websites or apps. And this is great, but there are some risks involved.

In real life, our security is always among our main concerns. We like to feel safe, and that’s the reason why our doors have keys and our homes have alarms. The same is true in digital environments.

Protecting our information and identity on the Internet has traditionally been performed on a user / password basis. But this mechanism has weaknesses. Using biometrics or tokens as other authentication factors provides an extra security layer, reducing the risk of identity theft.

But which of these two techniques (passwords or biometrics) will mark the future of digital security? Let’s dive into them.

The problems with passwords

Our computer devices contain a large amount of personal data collected from our digital activity, hence the importance of using security mechanisms to protect it. Passwords were created with the aim of protecting our online information from being accessed by others.

The most effective way to establish secure passwords is by using a combination of alphanumeric digits that are difficult to figure out, and changing them from time to time. This can be a tedious and sometimes impossible task, due to the number of different accounts people have. 

But the main problem with passwords is the human factor. Let’s admit it: human beings are imperfect by nature. In the case of passwords, humans are the weakest link in the online security chain. As a consequence, security levels decrease considerably:

  • On one hand, If we set up passwords complex to guess, they will be difficult to remember, on the other hand, if we choose to use passwords that are easy to remember, they will be easy to steal.
  • People are more likely to use the same password for several different accounts. If a hacker steals the password, they will have access to the information for several accounts.
  • We don’t really take into account the consequences of sharing our personal information… our lives on the internet.  The use of social networks can affect the security of our passwords. How? Very simply, many passwords are created using personal data, such as the name of our pets or the anniversary of a couple.

Due to all these issues, passwords are not secure anymore. Cyberattack hackers can easily steal passwords and gain access to people’s information. 

To avoid this risk, we must consider other methods that are more difficult to hack. Next, we will discuss systems that use physiological and behavioural traits as access keys, i.e. biometric identification systems.

Biometric identification systems: Facial recognition as a security system

Many industries are implementing biometric recognition systems for customer identity verification purposes. Although their effectiveness may be sometimes compromised by environmental conditions, hardware and the quality of the images captured, biometric authentication technology has significant benefits.

We will focus on the case of facial recognition as a security system. Why facial biometrics? Because it has certain advantages that make it stand out from the other options when it comes to identity authentication processes.

Facial recognition is one of the most robust biometric recognition systems. Human faces can be more discriminating  and less intrusive and more usable than other systems as barely any active user collaboration is required.

Facial recognition is one of the most robust biometric recognition systems. The human face can be more discriminating than other traits. In addition, the intrusive nature of this technology is very low as hardly any active collaboration from the user is required, which increases the degree of comfort. 

Besides these differences compared to other biometric mechanisms, it also has other advantages that should be taken into account:

  • Authentication times are reduced compared to traditional methods, resulting in improved user convenience and a better user experience.
  • It is important to highlight the security controls that are associated with facial recognition technology. Live detection measures can be performed in order to prevent fraud, verifying whether or not a real person is involved.
  • When it comes to site access, this technology has a clear advantage allowing contactless access. It is not necessary to manipulate any equipment, just show your face.

Biometrics and two-factor authentication

One of the most frequent situations is the combination of both techniques (passwords + biometrics), what is known as ” two-factor authentication ” (also driven by certain regulations such as PSD2).  

Furthermore, smartphones with biometric sensors are encouraging the use of these systems in industries such as banking, FinTech and online gaming.

Another relevant issue to consider is that the coronavirus is promoting the implementation of contactless measures, such us in ATMs, where money can be withdrawn minimizing contact through facial recognition. 

In conclusion, biometric solutions are gradually being introduced into many online processes as a new authentication factor, even replacing passwords in a variety of cases. We’ll have to keep watching the evolution of biometric technologies to see who wins the battle between passwords and biometric solutions, but despite their detractors, biometric solutions are here to stay.

At Mobbeel we develop tools that implement these procedures in a simple way: MobbScan (digital onboarding solution) and MobbID (biometric identity verification) can be your best allies in the digital transformation of your company. 

If you are interested in our technology do not hesitate to contact us, and if you liked the article, share it and add value to your followers!

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