We became familiar with biometric login in a relatively short time. Most new smartphones are equipped with it. Does that also mean it is safe? It is an inventory of the advantages and disadvantages of the best-known biometric login methods.
Biometrics is more than just recognizing fingerprints or faces. The art encompasses a wide variety of technologies that use people’s unique, personal characteristics for identification and authentication. In addition to the two previously mentioned methods, it also includes:
- DNA matching
- iris and retinal scans
- shape and structure of the ear
- blood vessels
- voice recognition
Biometrics is therefore a still growing market, which is being used in one form or another in more and more places for identification and authentication purposes. For logging in to smartphones and laptops, the fingerprint (Touch ID) and face recognition (Face ID) are still the most used applications for the time being. You can make use of the fido (fast identity online) in this case.
A capacitive scanner measures electrical signals from the finger. The pattern of the finger lines transmits an electric current, while air remains in the spaces between them. Those contact points form a unique pattern. This method is used for smartphones and laptops.
- Ultrasonic scanners are likely to be in the next generation of smartphones. A unique ‘map’ is composed by means of ultrasound.
- Both Apple and Android smartphones store the capacitive fingerprint on the device itself and do not make a copy of it on their servers. The idea behind this is that the password cannot be hacked ‘on the way’ to and from the servers.
- According to new research from Visa Inc. consumers across Europe are interested in using biometrics to make a payment – especially when biometrics is part of other security options.
- Like a third (33%), biometric authentication means their data would be more secure even if their device is lost or stolen.
Almost three quarters (73%) see 2-factor authentication, where a PIN or password is used in combination with a biometric authentication method, as a secure payment method. 2-factor authentication uses something you own, such as a payment card or mobile, something you are, such as biometrics, or something you know such as a PIN or password. More than two thirds (68%) of consumers want to use biometrics as authentication for payments in online and offline payment situations. The greatest opportunities lie for online retailers; almost a third (31%) of consumers has sometimes decided against an online purchase via the browser because the payment process was too laborious.
The Main Advantage
The advantage of biometric authentication is that it is user-friendly: you no longer have to enter and remember a PIN code. However, where a pin code leads to an unambiguous answer (“correct” or “wrong”), a biometric recognition often results in a certain probability (“the fingerprint corresponds 95% to the reference print”). Of course, the question quickly arises of how reliable biometric authentication actually is.
In the above examples, the biometric authentication factor (what you are like your finger or voice) is combined with a second factor (what you have like the app on your mobile phone). Such a two-factor authentication solution offers more certainty about the identity of the user and reduces the risks of false acceptance.