Biometrics: Increased Security Now Comes With Greater Convenience
Biometrics solutions are tightening transaction security. HID Global’s Phil Scarfo explains how biometrics is expanding into other security applications.
In the quest to secure our digital identities, biometrics is flourishing. With applications like ApplePay and initiatives from the FIDO alliance and others, biometrics authentication is becoming more prominent in consumer-facing applications. In financial services markets like Latin America and South Africa, biometrics has quickly moved from the ATM to the teller counter and is now poised to offer hassle-free authentication in online and mobile banking.
This is in large measure because biometrics is the only authentication method that binds a user’s digital credentials to a person. As such, biometrics is playing an important role in eliminating digital identity theft in today’s increasingly complex and vulnerable environment. Gartner has predicted that by 2016, 30% of all organizations will be using biometrics on mobile devices.
Biometrics innovations are making it possible for organizations to have confidence that the person presenting a credential is the person to whom it was issued. Technology is now advanced to the point that more advanced sensors can distinguish between live and fake fingerprints. Another innovation allows the deployment of intelligent encryption-enabled and tamper-resistance fingerprint devices that further strengthen secure authentication and protect user privacy.
Growing Adoption and Applications
Biometrics solutions have proven themselves at the ATM and in other banking applications, improving the customer experience while increasing transaction security. Now, the security benefits of biometric authentication are expanding beyond traditional ATM transactions to include such applications as securing government pension payments, patient identification and enterprise access control.
Biometrics is growing in importance today because we live in an environment where each of us has a growing list of digital identities for an expanding set of applications, stored on a variety of ID cards, tokens and smart devices. Biometrics has the unique ability to bind that multitude of digital identities to an individual’s single, true identity in a manner that is both secure and non-intrusive. As we look ahead, the major challenge is how to provide the increased security and privacy without added complexity for the end user. The short answer is biometric authentication.
Biometrics has the unique ability to bind that multitude of digital identities to an individual’s single, true identity in a manner that is both secure and non-intrusive. As we look ahead, the major challenge is how to provide the increased security and privacy without added complexity for the end user. The short answer is biometric authentication.
Biometrics is the simplest and most universal form of personal identity. There are no literacy, language, race, gender or other barriers to biometrics’ widespread adoption or deployment. Fingerprint biometrics has become one of the most widely used biometric modalities, especially at the ATM, partly because of its long history, but more importantly for its ease of use, performance, interoperability, ability to thwart imposters and low cost. User authentication is completed with the simple touch of a finger. And contrary to many claims or what has been depicted in movies, fingerprint templates cannot easily be transferred, socially engineered or guessed.
Biometrics innovations have been focused on the following areas:
- Biometrics sensor reliability: Sensor reliability is essential. It is critical that sensor technology be capable of working reliably under the broadest range of real-world conditions. To solve this problem, HID Global’s Lumidigm multispectral imaging technology ensures that additional, unique fingerprint characteristics can be extracted from both the surface and subsurface of the skin. More data and better images yield superior and reliable matching performance.
- Liveness detection: Field-upgradable liveness detection capabilities ensure proof of presence by preventing the use of fake fingerprints or “spoofs.” HID Global’s Lumidigm liveness detection is built from advanced machine learning algorithms that can be updated as new threats and spoofs are identified, enabling multispectral imaging sensors to very quickly respond and adapt to new vulnerabilities.
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