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Biometric Identification Systems: Dangerous or helpful

Press Release

The age of biometrics is finally here with us, and with it comes humans disregard for online security. With the advancement of mobile phones to include facial and fingerprint recognition in their phones has come the extensive use of such systems in everyday life.  Each day thousands of people use biometric technologies on their phones to open phone locks, apps, and even games. So much so that they want to be tagged in their friend’s Facebook photos that use integrated identification algorithms by Google.

The use of these systems has grown so vast that they are used in Identification documents, digital airport security and biometric authentication seen in financial institutions. Their biometric signatures physiologically and behaviourally characterize people among the most used biometric data including fingerprints, voice, retinas DNA sequences, and facial features.

On the plus side, biometric identification systems have helped in landscaping security features and online purchases. With a single swipe and stare, the transaction is done. No need to remember pins and passwords and the protected characteristic is almost always specific to you with minimal fail probability. The iPhone X’s biometric system projects 30000 infrared dots unto the face of the owner to map out facial features and authenticate the identification. It is by far the most advanced biometric technology on the phone. Apple claims their iPhone X has a fail rate of 1 to one million.

However, how safe is these systems, along the security feature, biometric systems are easily hacked. While taking into consideration that modern day device are connected continuously to cloud-based services, private information that our phones collect about us are easily accessible online. In contrast to codes and encryption keys, biometric security systems use unique identifying characteristics that cannot be altered easily. Once facial and fingerprint information is accessed, hackers can use them across various devices and even in identity theft.

However, the extent of how secure biometric systems are is stemmed from how sensitive the information being captured, stored, processed and accessed, is. Nowadays, phones camera and tablets capture some biometric data and store it even though it might not be used for authentication. Virtual assistants on various devices record and store individual vocal patterns in the cloud.

However, the main question is how we keep our biometric data safe from prying eyes. Experts call for data checks on enterprise and personal levels. Individuals can increase their security by limiting how much access to biometric data they give. However, stricter legislation ought to be passed concerning the limits to how much data biometric systems are allowed to capture.

This post was originally published on Food and Beverage Herald

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