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Biometrics – A new take on old tech

biometricsBiometric solutions were once seen as futuristic and unsafe, but we’ve come to realise that the reverse is true: it is password security which is unsafe, says Fujitsu Business Development Director Ollie Hayler

As cybercriminals become more sophisticated, it’s become common knowledge that you can’t use a password to keep accounts safe from cybercrime, because they can be easily copied, stolen, guessed or shared.

With passwords and PIN numbers becoming a thing of the past, the introduction of biometrics is giving customers and businesses alike a far more secure choice of authentication and verification.

In fact, research from TechSci has revealed that biometric integrations in consumer electronics will drive the global market to nearly double its size in the coming years.

Building on more than a decade of experience in developing and deploying high-tech identity management systems and services, this is something we’re already utilising at Fujitsu.

From biometric border controls systems in UK airports to an online citizen authentication and payment service in Finland, it’s important that organisations are properly equipped to tackle the fight against hackers and fraud.

Fine balance between risk and cost of Biometrics

Biometrics for security is about managing risk – so lower cost and lower security biometrics are fine for low-risk applications but inappropriate for high-risk transactions.

That’s why for those looking for extra reassurance, it would be wise to employ multiple security factors – so that more than one type of biometric authentication is needed (for example, both an iris scan and voice activation).

Biometrics: the future of cybersecurity

Whilst basic fingerprint technology is a good starting point when it comes to introducing consumers to biometrics for lower risk actions, a more complex combination of biometrics might be better suited to industries which carry a higher risk – such as financial services.

Palm vein is one example of a more complex, highly secure biometric system.

It combines the convenience of a contactless sensor with biometric security and uses near-infrared technology to scan over five million reference points of an individual’s internal vein pattern.

Each person has a totally unique palm vein pattern. This makes Palm Vein extremely secure.

While Palm Vein is currently not available on smartphones, it has been deployed across the globe for applications such as patient ID and verification in hospitals, financial transactions at ATMs, access to smart buildings, cashless payments and as a secure login to core applications such as banking platforms.

For users, the system is more convenient and faster than typing a password – with identity verification usually completed within one second.

Because we understand the importance of reducing the risk of identity fraud to citizens and consumers, Fujitsu has developed its own highly accurate and easy-to-use biometric technology for enterprise-scale logical and physical access control.

Widely adopted by healthcare, education and banking organisations, it can be used by both staff and customers to meet several business needs.

The Ferencváros Soccer Club in Budapest, Hungary is just one example of where this is currently being used.  Seating a staggering 23,000 people, the stadium looked to implement a technological solution for mass personal identification.

By placing the sensor technology across all entrances ensured banished people were not able to enter the stadium, visitors were only able to enter within their designated sector and a reduction in stolen or lost fan cards.

Final thoughts

While we don’t expect the biometric revolution to happen overnight, the proliferation of biometric technologies in consumer devices will result in consumers becoming more familiar and comfortable with the technology.

As such, biometric verification of identity on a personal device will, in one way or another, become a standard identification process.

In an era where data is becoming the new currency, all personal data needs to be properly protected.

As these threats increase in scale and size, neither businesses nor consumers can afford not to make cyber-security their number one priority.

To read more, visit Fujitsu’s blog here or visit our Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages, using the social handle @Fujitsu_NI.