Biometrics and Cyber Security – Could we rely on Biometrics in the future?

Biometrics and Cyber Security – Could we rely on Biometrics in the future?

What is Cybersecurity & why it’s so important?

Cybersecurity also referred to as information technology security is the process, and practices designed to protect networks, devices, programs, and data from attack, damage, or unauthorized access. It’s important because of most of the institutions like government, military, corporate, financial, and medical collect, process, and store a huge number of data on their servers, and most of the time they carry a significant portion of sensitive data. While doing businesses the organizations have to transmit those sensitive data across the network. Therefore, cybersecurity is dedicated to protecting the information and the system used to process and store it.

So how to protect this information?

Therefore, to protect these systems and information we must build powerful firewalls and safe logins with strong passwords. To be a cybersecurity system effective, an organization needs to coordinate its efforts throughout its entire information system which consists of network, application, data, infrastructure, cloud securities, etc. Traditionally, organizations and the government have focused most of their cybersecurity resources on perimeter security to protect only their most crucial system components and defend against known threats. But today, this approach is insufficient, as the threats advance and change rapidly. As a result, advisory organizations promote more proactive and adaptive approaches to cybersecurity.

Why use Biometrics and are they safe anymore?

Biometric security is rapidly becoming the preferred way to safeguard companies and individuals from hackers intent on fraud and identity theft. Fingerprint readers, iris scans, and facial, palm recognition have become mainstream, led by technology companies in the modern world. This technology delivers significant advantages in the fight against cyber-crime but there are risks. Some of those risks are,

  • Fingerprint or facial recognition can be hacked as cybercriminals look to steal biometric data.
  • Organizations that hold medical histories, blood samples or DNA profiles, have a huge potential liability, and if that breaches it has a large impact on the cyber-security as well.

So this shows that the biometrics are not safe anymore to be used in cybersecurity.

Know about Biometrics and how they are hacked?

Biometric is a unique and specific identification of a human. As there is no other person like you on earth, so are your biometrics. From ancient times onward the biometrics were used to identify a person, it is proven by the ancient fingerprints found from the rock caves. But in the 1860s officially biometrics were used in Telegraph operators Using the Morse code. The biometrics are of two types. They are,

  • Physiological measurements
  • Behavioral measurements

The physiological measures include the shape of a hand(palm), finger, vein pattern, eye(both the retina and iris), and the shape of a face. The behavioral measurements include voice recognition, signature, the sound of steps, gestures, etc. So all of these are used to the authentication processes.

When we talk about the fingerprint it is the prime biometric used in society. Most of the institutes use it to mark the attendance of their employees as well. Most of the banking systems use this as a primary level authentication of their customer and most of the electronic devices which we use these days. But it has proven that the theft of fingerprints is high as many hackers use to steal the fingerprint of people, sometimes even from a mug which they used.  Palm identification seems to be better as it is hard to be stolen. Therefore most of the highly secured laboratories and army camps use this method as an identification. But we see in science fiction movies how this method also has been broken by getting the samples of the palm marks which remain in those scanning machines. Face recognition is also one of the most precise methods in today’s world and we see some laptops, phones too have this kind of recognition nowadays. Actually how face recognition works in the sense is it stores an image of the person which could be used to read the mathematical geometry on our face such as the gap between our eyes, the length of our forehead, etc. But the hackers have found many ways to physically illustrate the human faces of the people they want by using the DNA samples. Finally, eye recognition is the most precise method which we could rely on. As up to now the modern technology and the hackers haven’t been able to beat the human Eye Detection, which is pretty much hard to recreate the human iris or the retina. So eye recognition has become the safest encryption method for cybersecurity to use, but on the other hand, it’s very costly to implement an eye recognition system into an organization.

What’s Biometric spoofing?

Biometric spoofing is a growing hacker threat, which is the practice of ‘fooling’ a biometric cyber-security system using fake or copied biometric information. For example, a fingerprint can be stolen and copied onto an artificial silicon finger. This can be used to unlock many systems and when we use facial recognition systems, often researches have proved that showing a photograph of the owner, thus unlocks the devices or systems. Even the finer the fingerprints left in a teacup is also a big advantage for a hacker. If your credit card is stolen, you can simply have a new one by canceling the old one. But how could we replace a fingerprint or any other biometric sample that has been stolen and reproduced?

Are there any other reasons and what the solutions are?

Vulnerabilities in healthcare technology provide hackers with huge opportunities to steal confidential patient medical records, clinical trial results, and sensitive intellectual data, etc. Ex:  Details on medicine development. These are more precious rather than stealing a credit or debit card. And it also helps the above-mentioned stealing of biometrics too.

So, the solution to this problem is we all must be awake to this type of issue and the organizations which carry sensitive data should always store them very safe and the concern about the verification of the authenticity of the user should be increased. Dual verification methods are also a good improvement that can be made to safeguard those data with cyber-security. When it comes to the medical industry which was discussed previously, they should understand the value of the personal medical data.

Therefore, if we can do these things in the big picture of cybersecurity then we can safeguard the biometrics used and use them in an effective manner.


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