Biometrics and beyond – the future of identity verification

      As we embark on the second quarter of 2024, our focus here shifts to a critical theme – ‘Securing Digital Identities’. In a world that is increasingly reliant on online interactions, safeguarding our digital identity is paramount. This month, we delve into the realm of identity verification technologies and explore how they are shaping the future of online security.

      Biometrics has emerged as a frontrunner within this domain. By leveraging unique physical and behavioral characteristics such as fingerprints, facial features, iris patterns, even typing rhythms, biometrics is able to offer a more secure and convenient way to verify identity compared to traditional methods such as passwords or tokens. Some phones and financial institutions have already implemented these technologies and are successfully utilizing them today.

      The advantages are undeniable:

      Enhanced security – biometric traits are inherent and difficult to forge, making them significantly less vulnerable to theft or hacking compared to passwords.

      Frictionless convenience – biometric authentication can be incredibly seamless, eliminating the need to remember complex passwords or carry additional tokens.

      However, the path forward with biometrics is not without its considerations:

      Privacy concerns – storing biometric data raises privacy issues and the use of robust data security protocols and user control over how this data is used are crucial.

      Inclusivity and bias – biometric systems may not function equally well for everyone, and there is the potential for bias based on factors such as race or ethnicity. Mitigating such bias requires diverse datasets for training algorithms.

      Looking beyond biometrics, the future of identity verification is likely to be multifaceted:

      The rise of Decentralized Identity (DID) – imagine a world where you carry your identity information not on a company’s server, but in your own digital wallet. This is the promise of DID. Blockchain technology, the secure ledger system underpinning cryptocurrencies, which can be used to create a DID system. Here’s how it works – you control a digital key that unlocks your identity data. This data can include items such as your passport information, driver’s license, or even educational credentials. You then choose which parts of this data to share with different entities, for example a bank might need to verify your age, while a social media platform might only require your name and email. This approach empowers you and puts you in control of your digital identity.

      Behavioral biometrics – our digital interactions leave a trail; the way we type, how we navigate a website with our mouse, even the pressure we apply to the screen. Behavioral biometrics analyzes these patterns to create a unique profile of how you interact with the digital world. This can be a powerful tool for security. Imagine a system that recognizes a suspicious deviation from your usual typing pattern when logging into your bank account, potentially indicating an attempted hack. When combined with traditional authentication methods, behavioral biometrics can add an extra layer of security.

      As these technologies evolve, it’s important to foster open discussions about responsible development and implementation. Striking a balance between security, convenience, and privacy will be the key to building a future where our digital identities are safe and secure.

      Waystone Compliance Solutions is a leading provider of cyber security consulting and compliance services to the financial services industry. If you would like to find out more about how we can help you to assess your current cyber security measures, please reach out to your usual Waystone representative or contact us below.

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