Passwords, fingerprints and the new lines of defence

Biometrics is big business in the UK. From fingerprints and faces to voices and signatures, individuals and companies alike are looking for more secure alternatives to passwords for accessing their devices and data.

In fact, 79% of smartphone owners now use the fingerprint scanner on their device – with 96% of them using it to unlock their phone. Facial recognition is also expected to move into the mainstream in 2018 as it is standardised in smartphones.

Why are users opting for these new lines of defence? Because they offer another layer of security in a world where cyber-crime is on the rise, and because they are easy to use – unlike passwords, which must be complex (and therefore are easy to forget) to be effective.

Biometric alternatives to traditional passwords

Here are some of the most popular biometric technologies in use today:

Fingerprint recognition – this works by capturing details of your fingerprint through a sensor (image, ultrasound or thermal/electric), including the arches, whorls, loops, edges and furrows. The sensor then uses these to verify and grant access to the user.

Facial recognition – this analyses patterns in an image to verify a person’s identity and create a digital image of the face. The technology can recognise 80 nodal points on your face, including the shape of your cheekbones and the width of your nose!

Iris recognition – this works by analysing the complex patterns within your eye’s iris (the ring surrounding the pupil), which are unique for every individual.

Voice recognition – this captures details like inflection, cadence and nasal tone to identify the speaker.

Signature recognition – this doesn’t just verify the shape of your signature; it also measures how you sign it in terms of pressure, speed and the order of your strokes.

How are small businesses using biometrics?

Many businesses are already using biometrics to access their data and devices. Currently, 62% of businesses globally are using technologies like fingerprint and facial recognition, and this is expected to rise to 90% by 2020. Even Microsoft is trying to reduce the need for passwords by introducing face-scan, fingerprint and even heart-monitoring alternatives!

Here to help you protect your data and equipment

As with any new technology, biometrics is not without its cyber-security risks, so small businesses do need to put safeguards in place. If you need help navigating your way around this new technology, please contact Dragon IS today.