According to The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC), in 2021, incidents of identity theft represented more than $6.1 billion in financial losses and the number of consumer identity theft complaints rose by 3.3%, to just over 1.43 million.
With cybercriminals getting more sophisticated, traditional authentication methods such as passwords and PINs are no longer sufficient to protect our sensitive data. The need for more secure, reliable, and convenient authentication methods has led to the development of biometric authentication.
But what exactly is biometric authentication, and how does it work?
In this blog post, we will delve into the world of biometric authentication, exploring the various types of biometric identifiers such as facial recognition, liveness checks, and fingerprints. Additionally, the advantages and disadvantages of these methods will be discussed, along with their applications in different settings.
Get ready to discover the exciting possibilities that biometric authentication holds for the future!
What is biometric authentication?
Biometric authentication is a cybersecurity process that leverages a person’s unique biological traits. Rather than relying on passwords or PINs, biometric authentication uses features like face, fingerprint, voice, and retina to authenticate users.
Biometric authentication is a powerful technology that minimizes the risk of data breaches, hacker attempts, and other cyber dangers. It also avoids the need for users to memorize difficult passwords or PINs by utilizing distinctive traits. As a result, biometric authentication provides a more secure and convenient method of safeguarding sensitive information.
How does biometric authentication work?
Biometric authentication works by using unique physical and behavioral traits to verify a user’s identity. When a user attempts to access their account or a secured building for authorized people only, they must provide a biometric sample, such as a facial recognition scan or a fingerprint.
The biometric sample is then compared to the stored data for that user, and if the two match, the user is granted access to their account or a physical location. This process ensures that only authorized users can access sensitive information or complete transactions.
The technology behind biometric authentication involves advanced algorithms and machine learning. These systems are trained to recognize unique patterns and characteristics within the biometric samples provided by users.
Over time, the system becomes more accurate as it is exposed to a larger number of biometric samples, making it increasingly difficult for fraudsters to impersonate users. As a result, biometric authentication has become one of the most secure and convenient methods for verifying an individual’s identity.
Let’s have a look at the most common biometric authentication methods.
Biometric authentication methods
There are several biometric authentication methods available, which differ in their level of security and the type of technology used to acquire data. Biometric software and hardware, such as sensors, cameras, or scanners are needed.
The most commonly used biometric authentication methods are listed below:
Facial recognition is a biometric authentication method that verifies a person’s identity by measuring and recognizing facial patterns from an image. Facial recognition technology uses AI and machine learning to compare these data points to a database or photo of an identity document.
Biometric feature data of a face, such as an eye size, spacing, cheekbone shape, nose length, nose width, and pupil size, are transcoded into digital format for comparison to a user’s picture ID.
Selfie verification is another frequently used biometric authentication method that requires users to take and submit a selfie. This process typically occurs on a smartphone in real time. Biometric software analyzes the selfie and matches it to a database or submitted ID document, enabling streamlining of customer onboarding processes.
Liveness checks are performed in the identity verification process to confirm that a real person is behind the camera, rather than someone holding up a printed picture of someone else’s face. Liveness checks use a 3D active biometric method that involves taking a video or several selfies and validating the user in real time.
The user may be asked to perform an active task, for instance, to move their head in multiple directions, thus adding another layer of security to the identity verification process.
Fingerprint recognition is a biometric authentication method that requires a sensor to capture a high-quality image of a fingerprint, and software capable of matching fingerprints based on a set of algorithms. Fingerprint sensors are essential for data acquisition, as biometric software requires a precise digital image of a user’s fingerprint.
To use fingerprint recognition, customers first need to register their fingerprints, which then enables the software to compare biometric features and register new login credentials. Fingerprint recognition offers a faster login process and is preferred for speed, but not every device comes with a fingerprint sensor.
Now that we know about the main biometric authentication methods, let’s take a look at their benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of biometric authentication
Biometric authentication is quickly becoming the preferred method of authentication for businesses and individuals alike. Instead of relying on traditional passwords, biometric authentication utilizes unique physical traits to verify one’s identity.
Here are some of the top benefits of biometric authentication:
Safer than passwords: One of the most significant benefits of biometric authentication is that it is much safer than using passwords. Passwords can be forgotten or stolen, whereas your biometric data is unique to you and cannot be replicated. This means that it is much more difficult for someone to gain unauthorized access to your accounts or information.
Faster login: Biometric authentication is also incredibly fast and easy to use. Instead of typing in a password, all you need to do is scan your fingerprint or use facial recognition to verify your identity. This can save a significant amount of time when logging into multiple accounts throughout the day.
Convenience: Another benefit of biometric authentication is that it is incredibly convenient. You don’t need to remember multiple passwords or keep track of them all. With biometric authentication, you simply need to scan your fingerprint or use facial recognition to access your accounts.
Increased security: Biometric authentication also provides an extra layer of security that traditional passwords cannot match. Since your biometric data is unique to you, it is much more difficult for someone to gain unauthorized access to your accounts or information. This means that your personal and sensitive data is much safer with biometric authentication.
Overall, biometric authentication offers a range of benefits that make it a great choice for businesses and individuals. With increased security, convenience, and speed, biometric authentication is quickly becoming the preferred method of authentication in the modern digital landscape.
While biometric authentication certainly has its benefits, there are also a few downsides to using this method of authentication.
Downsides of biometric authentication
While biometric authentication has many advantages over traditional authentication methods, it’s not without its downsides. As with any technology, there are potential risks and drawbacks that must be taken into account when implementing biometric systems.
By understanding these potential pitfalls, you’ll be better equipped to make informed decisions about whether biometric authentication is right for your organization.
Here are some of the main downsides of biometric authentication:
Privacy concerns: One of the concerns with biometric authentication is privacy. When you use biometric authentication, you’re providing sensitive personal information that could potentially be used for harmful purposes. This could include identity theft, data breaches, or other types of cybercrime. It’s important to carefully consider the risks before using biometric authentication.
Accuracy and reliability: Biometric authentication is dependent on the accuracy and reliability of the technology being used. While some systems are highly accurate, others may be prone to errors, which could result in incorrect authentication. This can be frustrating for users and may also lead to security issues.
Limited accessibility: Biometric authentication may not be accessible to everyone. For example, individuals with disabilities that affect their physical features may not be able to use biometric authentication. This could include individuals with facial disfigurements or missing fingers.
It’s important to be aware of these potential downsides. Careful consideration of the risks and rewards of using biometric authentication can help make an informed decision to choose the right provider.
Biometric authentication use cases
Biometric authentication has a variety of use cases across different industries. The main industries that already use biometric authentication are:
Financial Services: Biometric authentication can be used in financial services to prevent fraud, streamline transactions, and improve the customer experience. For example, banks can use fingerprint or iris recognition to authenticate customers at ATMs, to access the safe lockers behind the vault, or when making online transactions.
Retail: Biometric authentication can be used in retail to improve security, prevent theft, and provide a personalized shopping experience. For example, retailers can use facial recognition to identify known shoplifters.
Cryptocurrency: Biometric authentication can be used in the cryptocurrency industry. For example, as part of the Know Your Customer (KYC) in Crypto. By using biometric authentication as part of the KYC process, cryptocurrency exchanges can ensure that only verified users are able to access their platforms and conduct transactions, increasing the security of the exchange and reducing the risk of fraudulent activity.
Government: Biometric authentication can be used in government for a variety of purposes, including identification, border control, and law enforcement. For example, law enforcement agencies can use facial recognition to quickly identify suspects and improve public safety. Another example is the use of fingerprint recognition in crime scene analysis.
Healthcare: Biometric authentication can be used in healthcare to verify patient identities, reduce medical fraud, and improve patient safety. For example, healthcare providers can use facial recognition technology to match patient photos with their medical records to ensure the right patient is receiving the correct treatment.
While these are the main use cases, biometric authentication offers numerous use cases across various industries. As the technology continues to improve and become more widely adopted, we can expect to see even more applications in the future.
Do you want to get started with biometric authentication? Have a look at Klippa’s solution and learn how we can help you with your biometric authentication processes.
Get started with biometric authentication
Klippa’s Identity verification software is equipped with biometric authentication features and advanced technologies, including OCR, AI, machine learning, and computer vision. It can be used for digital customer onboarding and KYC checks.
You can integrate the software into your web or mobile applications with our Identity Verification SDK, enabling your customers to authenticate themselves using biometrics. This enables you to verify customer identities through biometric selfie scans, real-time liveness checks, and ID document verification using facial recognition.
Next to that, our software enables our clients to read RFID chips from identity documents using NFC ID verification technology. This technology uses encrypted data in the identity document’s chip to ensure 100% data accuracy and authenticity validation. Combining biometric authentication and NFC ID verification can help protect your organization from fraud attempts.
To help our clients stay GDPR-compliant, no data is stored on Klippa’s servers.
As the potential for cyber assaults grows, it is critical to deploy strong security measures to safeguard sensitive data. Klippa’s identity verification with biometric authentication offers an advanced method of verifying identities and authenticating users.
If you want to learn more about how biometric authentication can help you and your organization, our experts are always available to assist you in making the right decisions. Just schedule a demo below or contact us.