Biometrics are extremely powerful in the fight against cyber attacks and a key part of this is our very personal and physical qualities that can be used for cyber security.
When it comes to biometric technology, you may have heard of retinal or facial recognition technology being used, as well as fingerprint recognition features, such as a fingerprint access control system. That can be used to help secure a company’s site, for example, however, there are other biometric systems that you may be less familiar with. These systems can monitor attributes such as the shape of your ear, your hand geometry or other behavioural or biological characteristics such as walking styles and body odour, all to create a unique profile.
This highly personal and unique information can be used by cyber security companies to create patterns in order to ensure that protection programmes are robust enough to prevent cyber criminals from stealing identities and committing fraud.
Although biometric technology has greatly improved over the years, the premise of the technology itself is nothing new. It was in the 1970s that US company, Shearson Hamil, utilised fingerprint identification to control and monitor access to its Wall Street offices and this technology has gone on to become one of the most comprehensive and popular security systems used today.
Biometrics are becoming so increasingly important that the National Police will implement a new biometric system as standard that will see the addition of facial recognition data to the electronic ID cards (DNI 4.0). This is also already used by INTERPOL for its I-CORE technology programme, which they say is for an accurate, secure and automatic identification of criminals.
How We Can Benefit From Biometrics
Many sectors are seeing the benefits of using biometrics but probably the one getting the most out of it is the banking industry. Biometrics are being used in the two-step authentication system to help in the fight against phishing.
This method of online fraud is very common but by putting biometric elements in place the bank can stop any impersonation, even if the cyber criminal already has some personal data on you.
Other areas of use for biometrics that are in place today are the use of facial and fingerprint recognition in our mobile phones. With our mobile devices holding so much of our personal information, it’s essential that they are protected as much as possible and a PIN is no longer enough on its own to be confident it’s secure.
Other areas where biometric technology is a key part of securing sensitive information or for increasing security levels are in the health care sector, train stations, airports, for investigating crime and for securing access control at companies.
COVID-19 and Remote Working
The COVID-19 pandemic has meant that businesses have had to set up secure work stations and networks in a much shorter time frame than would otherwise have been necessary.
An application with huge importance for biometric technology in cyber security is the ability to protect and secure data within the cloud. This is because the use of combining methods such as AI and machine learning with data analysis means that large amounts of information can be handled at the same time. This helps security systems and machines to learn and therefore improve so that certain parameters can be determined for a variety of circumstances, for example learning if glasses are worn by the user.
Biometrics are a powerful tool against future cyber attacks, however, there are of course still risks involved. For example, the biometric data held by a company could still be stolen. However, the chances of this happening are much more unlikely than if traditional passwords or security cards are still the main security measures in place, as these can easily be stolen or forgotten, whereas biometric traits cannot be taken from an individual.