Biometric technology is rapidly becoming the norm. In fact, you may have used it just now when you logged on to read this article on your phone.
Biometrics are physical characteristics that can be used to identify a person in order to grant access to a system or device, for example, a fingerprint scan or facial recognition technology. Keys, cards, passwords and pins; right now, we have multiple ways of logging in to apps and platforms, but with biometrics becoming more commonplace, very soon we might need nothing but ourselves.
The question is, what does the rise of biometrics mean for the security of our data and devices? In this guide, we’ll be taking a look at what the future holds for biometrics and security.
Biometrics of the past
It’s not long ago that biometrics felt like the stuff of science fiction. Back in the early noughties, the release of Minority Report saw cinema-goers marvelling at this far-fetched futuristic technology. Then, just a few years later, it became a reality.
Digital fingerprint scans and facial recognition software were no longer the stuff of fantasy – they were right here, right now. The only problem was this early tech came with a host of flaws; fingerprint scanners were easy to duplicate, and facial recognition technology could be fooled by a photograph. All in all, this futuristic tech had a long way to go.
Since the earliest iterations of the tech, biometrics have changed in several ways. And though it’s still not 100% fool proof, it has improved immeasurably.
For example, facial tracking algorithms now can differentiate between a detailed photograph and a live person. And biometric security is no longer the preserve of big business; the vast majority of people have biometric software in their pocket, and the more commonplace it becomes, the more the quest for it to provide complete peace of mind grows.
How can biometrics improve security today?
Eliminate password usage
A recent study showed that password breaches accounted for more than 80% of data leaks, making them one very weak link in the security chain. Biometric technology allows companies and individuals to replace feeble passwords with an easy-to-use and impossible-to-forget login process that eliminates the threat of passwords breaches with far more sophisticated proof of identity.
Biometrics require a physical component to enable entry into a system. This form of identity-based access control is far safer than the “something you know” authentication factor, as it can’t be forgotten or stolen. Biometrics provide solid proof of identity.
Using multi-factor authentication, a password and a pin for example, is a great way to raise your security. But, if you use multi-factor biometrics technology, such as a fingerprint and facial recognition software, not only is ease of use improved but security becomes far tighter.
Biometrics in the future
The future of biometrics for security is exciting. The tech is becoming ever more commonplace and the increased demand from big business means it isn’t going anywhere.
Fingerprint and facial recognition software are already hugely popular, but the question on most people’s lips is, what’s next? Well, experts see endless possibilities. This technology could soon replace official documentation such as passports and driving licences (these are relatively easy to forge, after all) and it’s not unrealistic that one day soon, we might need nothing more than ourselves to board a plane or access our bank accounts.
So, what exactly, could we see next?
We’re all very familiar with using our thumb or our face to unlock our phones, but in the not-too-distant future, our heart may come in handy too. Yes, our phones might use blood flow to identify us. According to biometric scientists, it seems that our blood flow is actually a unique trait, and this data could be used to allow us to access our personal data.
It seems that the way we type is actually unique to each individual and in the future, we may be required to type a sentence to prove our identity online.
The veins in our palms or fingers may be scanned to prove who we are in the not-too-distant future.
Earlier this year, around 3,000 Swedish citizens willingly had microchips implanted into their skin so that they no longer need to carry identification. The implants, which are smaller than a grain of rice, mean the participants don’t need cards for the gym, for trains, or to get into their places of work.
According to those who’ve had the chip, the implantation process simply felt like a “slight sting”. There may be many who wouldn’t dream of having the chip inserted, but it’s likely to become more popular and seem less alien as time goes on.
Where will these changes take place first?
While biometric security is commonplace on smartphones now, it’s rarely individual users who see the changes first. Instead, corporate organisations are the first to see developments, and it’s here that most of the changes will take place.
Already, many companies are replacing traditional passwords with biometric software, and it’s not only used for personnel to log in. Increasingly, businesses are using this tech to track arrival time and attendance. And the use of biometrics, while already hugely popular, is likely to completely replace traditional authentication measures very soon.
The final word
The pace of progress of biometric technology is rapid, and as it grows so does our acceptance of it. Biometrics have come a long way since their early adoption, but there’s still so much for room growth.
In the years to come, expect to see more and more of this disruptive tech in all areas of our lives. And who knows, to the next generation, passwords might seem as outdated as the fax machine.
CDL is one of the UK’s leading IT disposal companies, working to help private and public businesses and organisations safely retire and recycle their outdated IT assets. To find out how we could help your business, or more of the latest tech news and advice, visit our homepage or call our team today on 0333 060 2846.