With the current technological landscape, businesses, institutions and governments are seeking out the best digital solutions, especially in the cybersecurity sector. Security requirements are increasing in parallel with the alarming escalation of cyber threats and fraud, especially regarding identity theft and data breaches. In fact, in the U.S. alone, 16.7 million consumers were identity fraud victims in 2017, an 8% rise on the previous year and a collective loss of $16.8 billion. Needless to say, there’s a greater need for more secure authentication solutions that identify and prevent potential identity theft and fraud.

Enter: Biometric Authentication Technology

With growing security and privacy concerns, it is no secret that traditional authentication methods such as PIN numbers, text-based passwords, personal security questions, and two-factor authentication (2FA) are not enough to maintain security. In addition to security reasons, end users don’t want to deal with the inconvenience of constantly changing their passwords or going through long login and user verification processes. Therefore, institutions are leaning towards a more effective authentication system, while balancing end-user usability and security.

A Quick Glance at Biometric Authentication

The solution to better security lies in biometric authentication technology, which is designed to confirm proof of identity through the use of unique biological characteristics. In addition, biometric security provides efficient, affordable and reliable identity protection while allowing accessibility across multiple platforms.

Biometric authentication methods create a single biometric profile through physical characteristics (such as face-scanning, fingerprinting, iris/retina scanning and palm scanning) or behavioural characteristics (such as voice recognition, keystroke dynamics, signature dynamics and brain waves) specific to each individual. In fact, according to a Spiceworks report (chart below), fingerprinting, facial recognition and hand geometry recognition are currently the most common methods of biometric authentication. These methods collect characteristics which are unique, universal, permanent and measurable.

Image Source: Spiceworks Survey

The Potential of Biometric Authentication Technology and its Applications

Businesses and industries, including governments and military sectors, are moving towards adopting biometric technology thanks to its endless use cases and potential. In fact, 62% of institutions already use biometric authentication technology, and an additional 24% plan to utilise it within two years. On the consumer side, according to IBM Research, 75% of millennials are happy to use biometrics, whereas less than 50% are comfortable using traditional complex passwords.

In addition, integration with devices, smartphones and robotics are becoming more mainstream in regards to biometric security, especially with the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and IoT. The overall experience is now delivering greater security, operational efficiency and improve customer experience.

From national security to border control, from law enforcement to mobile payments, there is unlimited use for biometric authentication technology within various sectors and government organisations. Let’s take a look at the most common applications.

Finance, Banking, Payment

Finance is one of the leading sectors that put biometric security into practice with various authentication methods and use cases, starting with biometric-enabled ATMs. In addition to meeting compliance regulations and providing better security, advanced biometric solutions in the finance sector also build consumer trust. For example, there is the Mastercard Identity Check for digital payments. Some banks use wrist-worn heart-rate monitors to verify identities and secure mobile payments, or voice recognition to verify customers over the phone. Big players, such as Lloyd Banking Group and PJ Morgan Chase, allow their customers to use fingerprint and facial recognition technology to log into their online banking accounts.

Healthcare

Facial recognition technology and palm vein biometrics are frequently used in hospitals to identify patients for more accurate patient care. Biometrics also ensure speed and efficiency in the healthcare industry, where time is very important. Thanks to biometric authentication, the healthcare sector can easily identify patients, access their real-time time histories and avoid potential mistakes.

Retail

The retail sector which utilises technology at its finest, isn’t different than other innovative sectors when it comes to authentication technology. There are numerous applications. One of them is in the Amazon Go stores, which are partially automated to provide payments without a cashier or self-checkout. Another example is Alibaba, taking online payments with its Smile to Pay facial recognition software.

In addition, point of sale (POS) systems are incorporating biometric-based software that authenticates users before payment is made, and speeds up the overall payment process in shops and restaurants.

Travel

In the travel sector, biometric technology is mainly used for security, to save time, and to increase customer satisfaction. As one of the pioneers of this technology, Dubai Airport identifies passengers within one to two seconds through live face recognition.

At London’s Heathrow Airport, iris recognition is also used at the border to assess passenger identities. This saves significant time, enhances the travel experience and improves security.

The Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry uses fingerprint technology that allows tourists to make payments (at shops, restaurants and more), perform check-ins (hotels and airlines) and rent cars without needing to convert foreign currencies.

Government

The most common biometric authentication technology application that governments use are electronic passports (biometric passports) and biometric ID cards. These are used for security, crime prevention, identification, population registration, voter registration, voter fraud prevention, and immigration purposes. Criminal ID solutions, such as automated fingerprint/palm print identification systems (AFIS), can store, process and retrieve fingerprint images and subject records.

One of the most exciting use cases is the Tri-Modal Biometric project in Mexico, where the government identifies citizens through three biometric technologies. The database includes the fingerprint, iris and facial biometric data of around 110 million citizens and will eventually supersede the country’s voter ID card.

Another example is the world’s largest biometric identification system: India’s Aadhaar project, which holds identity data of more than 1 billion people. Aadhaar houses citizens’ biographic and biometric data (including two iris scans, one photograph and ten fingerprints) and is mostly used for educational institutions and government subsidy and unemployment benefit programs. Aadhaar has already decreased corruption, the cost of delivery of public services, and the cost of middlemen.

This is Just the Beginning. It’s Time to Get on Board with CyberCyte

Without any doubt, we can expect the increasing reliance on biometric authentication technology from institutions, industries and enterprises in order to secure people’s identities, access and data. There are many biometric technologies available, however, the leading technology is a unified solution integrated with Network Access Control.

Developed by CyberCyte – the first platform to centralise biometric identity, device management, BYOD and network access control – BioCyte allows organisations to manage both software and physical biometric authentication processes quickly and securely through a central management infrastructure.

BioCyte’s family of products can be adapted to all biometric technologies through its unique biometric integration interfaces and support all major technologies, including Palm Vein Recognition, Finger Vein Recognition, Face Recognition, Finger Print, Iris Recognition and Retina Recognition. Moreover, the software can read from and write to remote sources (Microsoft Active Directory, OpenLDAP, Employee Database, and more.) with using its LDAP, Web Service and Database integration interface. Therefore, the cost of setup operation is minimal.

The communication between all BioCyte’s family of products, especially biometric data transfer operations, is performed through the double layered SSL tunnel which is secure against all known attacks. The BioCyte Server can even encrypt and store biometric data at an extremely high-security level with the support of Hardware Security Module integration.