The modern digital economy has a massive weak point. Everything depends upon passwords for access. This may be your bank account, PayPal account, credit card details and accounts, utilities and service information – the list goes on. All of these systems are kept secure by passwords.
The problem with password technology is that it has failed to keep pace with modern cyber criminals who regularly exploit weak and obvious passwords to gain access to personal information and financial dealings.
The difficulty with human beings is that they are likely to use the same password or similar password for all of their different accounts, including banking details. This is particularly likely for older digital users. This means that a hacker will be able to exploit multiple email accounts rather than just one or two.
Public companies and governments and are very concerned about how to protect data. Recent high-profile hack attacks have led to personal information and passwords being leaked across the internet. This not only causes embarrassment but has forced people to update security information.
How is technology responding to this threat? Increasingly, biometrics are replacing the standard password. Biometrics use the most unique thing in the world – your personal characteristics and for older Australians, the benefit is that they will not have to worry about forgetting their password. You become your own password!
What sort of biometrics are available? There are at least five:
Facial – Facial recognition takes a picture of your face and compares it with an existing image of you from an identity document such as a passport or driver’s licence. Major advancements have brought facial recognition technology into the spotlight. Simple geometric models have now evolved into sophisticated mathematical representations which achieve a very high match rate;
Iris – Iris recognition has become an interesting alternative to facial recognition. The pattern variation in the iris between humans is much larger than that of the face. This gives iris recognition software a much higher chance of producing a correct match;
Fingerprint – Fingerprint technology is already widely in use in our every day lives. It is common technology to unlock our Smart phones. This simple technology could soon become a common use technology not just in our phones but for identifying ourselves to our banks or on our online accounts. Will credit cards contain a digital fingerprint?
Vein – Vein pattern recognition is the new big brother of fingerprint recognition. Vein patterns located beneath the skin are virtually impossible to replicate;
Heart Beat – Your heart beat has a unique signature. The ECG wave produced by your heart beat can identify you. Heart beat technology can be incorporated into things like wristbands which then monitor your heart beat. Your heart beat can then authenticate you via Bluetooth to other devices. The problem with heart beat, however, is that if you are excited or too relaxed when wearing the device, it will not identify you. In other words, do not run to the bank or your recognition software will not work!
In the future, biometric technologies will be a third factor for identification. At present, two factor authentication is common. This is either keys or something you know like a password. In the foreseeable future, biometrics will be added as a third factor so that you will be identified by your biometric signature.
This article is intended only to provide a summary of the subject matter covered. It does not purport to be comprehensive or to render legal advice. No reader should act on the basis of any matter contained in this article without first obtaining specific professional advice.
DISCLAIMER: We accept no responsibility for any action taken after reading this article. It is intended as a guide only and is not a substitute for the expert legal advice you can get from De Marco Lawyers and other relevant experts.