In the modern era biometrics should replace passwords

Organisations need to start embracing biometrics to reduce the cost and risk of passwords, warns Secure Cloudlink.

Passwords are a widely recognised problem but their weaknesses are yet to be addressed.

The active base of fingerprint reader-equipped devices is set to surpass one billion in early 2017, according to Deloitte, highlighting the rate that end users are warming to biometrics as a means of authentication.

According to cyber security firm Secure Cloudlink, organisations should follow this growing trend and incorporate biometric technology to authenticate employees in order to mitigate the high security risks that come when using passwords.

According to forecasts from Deloitte, fingerprint technology will be collectively used trillions of times in 2017 as a means of authentication, demonstrating the growing appetite towards biometric technology.

>See also: Biometrics time attendance: benefits for your business

For Dave Worrall, CTO at Secure Cloudlink, passwords have evolved in an indefensible means of authentication and the move towards biometrics is a welcome step forward that should be embraced throughout organisations.

Worrall suggested that there’s “clearly a desire for alternative forms of authentication. Fingerprint technology, for example, is gaining traction among end users due to the usability, efficiency and security benefits this technology presents”.

“Trying to remember numerous passwords is often frustrating for employees, and this naturally leads to password sharing across a company. But this leaves businesses exposed to major security risks. Worryingly, if organisations are hit by a data breach, due to relaxed password procedures, it’s almost impossible for organisations to trace the cause of the fraudulent activity, which means the problem will continue to occur and the perpetrator might not ever be caught.

“However, a move towards biometrics will make it easier for organisations to determine exactly who is accessing a system or application, as this technology is unique to each individual.”

>See also: The password’s time has come: it will be replaced by biometrics

“Biometric authentication creates accountability; every transaction or action is documented along with the individual associated with it. As a result, an accurate audit trail is created, which will naturally reduce the possibility of misuse, fraud and data leakage. The individual user also benefits as, unlike passwords, there is no way for them to forget their biometric credentials and this information is also practically impossible to forge.

In the modern, digital era, passwords simply don’t stand up against the security threats out there. Indeed, according to Worrall, 29% of cyber crime originates from stolen passwords and 1.5 billion passwords have been stolen to date.

“Now is the time,” suggested Worrall, “for companies to get their houses in order as the real threat to CIOs and CTOs is not just how much a cyber breach is going to cost a business, but the cost of having to tell everyone. This is even more poignant now as the deadline for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) approaches. It’s vital that we rethink the entire concept of the password. The growing desire among individuals for biometrics will hopefully create a domino effect that will spill across all businesses so we can wave goodbye to passwords forever.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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