Biometrics can bring comfort and a sense of security to people’s lives because they are more user-friendly and more secure than standard passwords. On the other hand, biometric technology brings unexpected problems and risks that can negatively affect their privacy.

What are biometrics?

The ExpressVPN investigation defines biometrics as behavioral and physical characteristics unique to each person, often used in identification and authentication. Some of the most commonly used biometrics include fingerprints, facial scans, DNA, retinal and iris scans, and voice recognition.


1. Single sign-on (SSO)

Single sign-on services allow users to access multiple accounts through a single point of authentication. For example, users can sign in to Gmail, Drive, YouTube and other available Google services with just one username and password. The SSO services quickly became the target of cyber-attacks and identity thefts as hackers saw the opportunity to collect massive amounts of data with access to just one account. Therefore, single sign-on services started implementing biometric authentication in their systems to address this issue, making them more secure.

2. Biometric Payments

According to Visa’s Research95% of respondents from Vietnam said they use fingerprint recognition to verify their financial transactions. Respondents admitted that they believe biometric authentication is more secure than older authentication methods such as PINs and passwords, with 97% of them consider fingerprints a safe method. Some countries are already testing more advanced biometric payment systems, such as those based on facial recognition, to give their customers an even smoother experience.

3. Mobile Device Security

Android and iOS devices have integrated biometric authentication sensors to keep users’ data safe and limit access to only those individuals whose biometrics were captured upon registration. Due to high demand, technology companies are releasing improved biometric authentication solutions with every new device. For example, in 2018, Samsung released the Intelligent Scan feature, which offers retina scan, facial recognition and fingerprint scan, but allows the system to choose the best authentication method depending on the environmental conditions.


1. Compromised biometrics is a big problem

Each person has a unique biometric profile. However, if unauthorized parties get their hands on it, uniqueness can quickly become the biggest weakness of biometrics. While users can change their passwords and usernames whenever they suspect someone has used their credentials, they cannot change their fingerprints or the unique color pattern of their iris. Fortunately, the chances of someone using this data to steal your identity are unlikely thanks to “Liveness”, which is an important part of biometric security as it tests whether the sample is real or fake.

2. It can lead to a decreased sense of privacy

Tech companies behind popular gadgets track users to better understand their preferences and consumer behavior. This helps them improve their products and target audience with tailored advertising, but it can reduce users’ sense of privacy. Law enforcement in many countries also uses facial recognition to detect criminals and prevent illegal activities, but the increasing number of CCTV cameras in cities can cause unrest among citizens.


Using Two-Factor Authentication

Both passwords and biometrics have their strengths and weaknesses, and neither system is perfect. However, combining them in one system turned out to be a safer option. Two-factor authentication requires users to log into their accounts with a password and a biometric feature such as fingerprint or face scan. In this way, they can reduce the risk of being hacked, as the perpetrator must obtain both authentication factors in order to successfully access the account.

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While most Vietnamese respondents said they would switch banks or mobile devices if it didn’t support biometric authentication, it’s essential to be careful who you trust with your biometrics. Companies that don’t look trustworthy can share biometric data with other parties and endanger the security and privacy of users.

Vietnamese see biometrics as a step forward towards a more advanced and secure future. While it may be more convenient to pay bills with facial scans, it’s always worth considering the potential implications of this technology.

Source: Vietnam Insider


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