Biometric Security Gains Momentum, Could Kill Passwords Dead, Notes AFP

Can’t happen fast enough really! We read more and more about it: "I would love to kill the password dead as a primary security method because it's terrible," White House cybersecurity coordinator Michael Daniel told a security forum last year.

A recent story published by AFP and syndicated to news portal Business Insider offered a review of biometrics’ growing acceptance in the marketplace.  Apple’s introduction of the iPhone with Touch ID can be said to have captured the interest of a public frustrated with data breaches, and eager to embrace more secure alternatives.  Apple’s move of course spurred competitors like Samsung to unveil its own fingerprint scanner and Qualcomm to release 3D fingerprint technology incorporated in chipsets the company sells to OEMs.  And of course the FIDO Alliance, of which AGNITIO is a founding member, has made great strides in this area.

The rise of biometric security could 'kill the password dead'

But the rise of biometrics may not necessarily be driven by hardware sold by the major technology providers:  security and protection against breaches have certainly galvanized consumer adoption of – or at the very least, curiosity about – new biometric technologies.

Almost immediately since last summer’s attack on JPMorgan Chase – which resulted in hackers gaining access to email addresses and phone numbers for 83 million households and small businesses – the public learned that the breach was not the result of sophisticated, complicated cybercrime efforts.  On the contrary, all the attackers did was breach a server that had not been upgraded with two-factor authentication.  Clearly, this could have easily been prevented. 

Voice biometrics offers a secure and highly convenient path for user authentication. But perhaps more importantly, voice biometrics are completely revocable. A passphrase-dependent voiceprint combines the unique qualities of the user’s voice with a passphrase – if it is stolen, one simply records a new passphrase, rendering the stolen voiceprint useless. Sascha Meinrath, head of the New America Foundation's X-Lab, voiced concern in the AFP article about what a user does when their fingerprints or their iris scans are stolen – and it’s a valid concern that only voice can address.

Posted by Andrew Humber, Senior Director Marketing Communications
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