We have all seen films where the eye of the scientist or the finger of the secretary is “stolen” – usually in a macabre if unlikely way; to enable the bad guy (or girl) to access the safety deposit box, laboratory, bank account access codes, etc. Perhaps fortunately, this scenario is unlikely to meet with much success. However, it seems that there is a fundamental weakness in the system.
Any Biometric measurement will be converted into code which in turn is relayed to the door, gate or bank account. The code will be measured against the data held on file. If a match is found the door will be opened or account accessed.
There are two problems.
1. It really doesn’t matter which bit of your body you decide to use as your security button. Once the digital image is stored it can be hacked, replicated and used against you.
2. Also, the digital image you present when wanting to open the door, access the account, etc. has to move from the camera/access point to the control centre. The information might be vulnerable to unauthorised access whilst in transit. So, whilst nobody is likely to steal your eye or your finger, they might well steal the electronic image of either.
And of course, unlike a linear text password, once the retinal image, fingerprint or ear outline has been compromised, it will be a little more difficult to change!
So, are biometrics a good idea? Probably – but as usual, only time will tell.
So what are Biometrics?
Biometrics refers to metrics related to human characteristics. Biometric authentication (or realistic authentication) is used in computer science as a form of identification and so far as most are concerned, for access control. It is also used to identify individuals within groups that are under surveillance.
Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measureable characteristics used to label and describe each and every one of us as individuals. Biometric identifiers are often categorised as physiological (as opposed to behavioural) characteristics. Physiological characteristics are related to the shape of the body. Examples include, but are not limited to fingerprint, palm veins, DNA, face recognition, palm print, hand (and recently, ear) geometry, iris recognition, retina and odour/scent recognition. Behavioural characteristics are related to the pattern of behaviour of a person, including but not limited to typing rhythm, gait and voice. The term behaviometrics is now being used to describe the latter class of biometrics.
Technology is increasingly relying on this data to identify us – in airports, on bank accounts and even in the local gym.
Is this safe and is it reliable?
Cyber Liability Attack
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Cost of paying ransom
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Regulatory fines and penalties
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