Biometric Update: Rethinking physical biometrics: what you don’t know can hurt you

May 8 — Rethinking physical biometrics: what you don’t know can hurt you

A guest post on by Ryan Wilk, vice president of customer success at NuData Security.

Biometrics seems to be all the rage right now. It seems like almost every day another financial institution or other organization is announcing their adoption of some sort of biometric technology. First it was all about fingerprints, then iris prints and voice recognition. Analyst firm Technavio recently released a report forecasting the growth of palm vein biometrics. Other organizations are looking to “selfie”-based facial recognition, even the human heartbeat and brain waves. In fact, the term biometrics has become an industry buzzword. With the number of data breaches continuing to rise, it’s no wonder that organizations are increasingly looking to human biometric characteristics as a supplement to standard, but weak, single-factor authentication schemes that have historically relied on a password to validate rightful owners. The attractions of this individualized authentication data are clear – both to organizations and to cyber criminals. As such technology is increasingly proposed and used in online and offline transactions, it is rapidly becoming an area of concern from a data privacy and security perspective. While the use of physical biometric factors has been a boon for physical security— where the person to be authenticated is physically presenting themselves for enrollment and subsequent authentication—many factors quickly lose effectiveness in an online world.

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