In the digital age, ensuring the security of our personal information is of utmost importance. It’s well known that simplistic passwords can be vulnerable to hacking, so new and innovative approaches to authentication have emerged, one of which is the biometric password. This blog post will explore the concept of biometric logins, the advantages, drawbacks, and its role in ensuring a future of secure authentication.
Biometric passwords use unique physical or behavioural characteristics to verify the identity of an individual. Examples of these are fingerprints, facial features, voice recognition and iris scans as opposed to letters, numbers, and special characters. Being unique to an individual offers biometric passwords a significant advantage in security, and therefore they provide a much higher level of security than a traditional password. A great everyday example is our smartphone, which uses facial recognition to ensure our private information is secure.
What are the advantages of a biometric login?
- Convenience – You don’t have to memorise a password and it is also much quicker to scan your face than entering a password which fits all the requirements. They also benefit organisations as it improves security for delicate information and provides a slicker employee experience.
- Enhanced security – It is significantly more challenging for unauthorised individuals to gain access to your private information as biometric traits are much harder to mimic.
- Increased reliability – Regular passwords can be shared or stolen, whereas biometrics are unique to individuals and much harder to imitate or steal.
- Scalability – Biometrics are easily scaled across many platforms, making them suitable for different contexts, including smartphones, laptops, financial transactions and more.
What are the disadvantages of a biometric login?
- Privacy concerns – Biometric data is incredibly sensitive and can be used to identify individuals and breach their privacy. As such this process has raised concerns surrounding compliance related to the data collected by apps, software and hardware. To combat this, companies must introduce robust security measures to comply with privacy regulations and avoid a breach of employees’ personal and identifiable data.
- Hacking possibilities – Like any technology, the system isn’t completely foolproof. Although biometric passwords have been developed to enhance security, some cybercriminals have found ways to hack systems and clone data to “spoof” biometric security systems. If a hacker can breach the databases the information is stored on, they can potentially copy the stolen sample and compromise the system. Due to the nature of the information, this can cause massive complications and legal issues. This is significantly harder than setting up a bot to guess a password, but it is certainly a possibility.
- Expensive – Implementing company-wide biometric passwords can be costly when compared to traditional methods.
- Physical traits cannot be changed – If the data is compromised or stolen, individuals are not able to change their existing identifiable features, and the biometric model can become unusable. Whereas traditional passwords can be quickly and easily changed in situations where systems are hacked.
How do we use biometric passwords at Red Flag Alert?
Our anti-money laundering and identity verification tool (KYC) requires individuals to provide a biometric scan of their face when completing the check, as an extra layer of security. This biometric scan will then be compared to a copy of the passport or driving license provided by the user. The technology determines whether the photo on the ID document matches the biometric ‘selfie’. We have developed this tool to enhance security, as typically those committing financial crimes will use fake or stolen IDs, which do not match their face. Using this method, we can authenticate the customer in a frictionless process, remotely and instantly.
Traditional KYC processes mean that companies need to undertake face-to-face client checks to prevent fraud, money laundering and other financial crime. Our model removes this requirement and therefore saves our customers valuable time, with additional security. The completion and authorisation of these in-person checks can also be a lengthy process, taking weeks to even months to align calendars and get all of the paperwork completed. However, our method takes less than 5 minutes from completion of the check to receiving results within a digestible PDF report.