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Innovation in biometric identification offer an exciting new frontier in security, with the global biometric system market expected to reach an estimated $32.4 billion by 2022, according to finextra.com.
Biometric technologies have become a standard in smartphones and other devices, from fingerprints to facial recognition. However, the industry of counter-measures has also been flourishing, including fingerprint replicas, high-resolution photographs etc.
Several technologies to secure biometric screening have been under development recently.
According to pri.org, Apple has been reportedly testing 3-D facial recognition in its upcoming iPhone. The veins in your wrists, palm and fingers can also be used as unique identifiers. “I’ve even seen the electroencephalogram,” says Stephanie Schuckers, director of the Center for Identification Technology Research. “So, this would be electrodes placed on your head [that] could be used as an identifier, which might be good for wearables, headphones, et cetera.”
She adds that there are also behavioral biometrics, which can change depending on your behavior. “Like how you walk, how you talk, how you hold something, for example, how you type, how you swipe on your phone,” she says, adding that these behaviors can also be used to create a “signature” for biometric recognition.
According to Schuckers, one way to strengthen biometric security is through “liveness detection” — not only confirming that your features match what’s expected, but also that you’re standing right there. “When you measure the biometric, you also want to measure additional features that really tell you that you’re measuring it from a real person, not just a photograph or someone holding up a phone or a photograph of an individual,” she explains. Technology like Apple’s rumored 3-D facial recognition could be capable of doing just that.
“Other examples might be looking in the near-infrared range because obviously, you have different information present in your face in the near-infrared range than you would in a typical visible spectrum photograph.”
But even as biometric technology improves, another security question lingers: From law enforcement to advertisers and social media companies, who gets to use our biometric data to identify us? Schucker agrees that we’re still midconversation.
“I think … we’re still in a national conversation about what are the limits? What is OK, and what is not OK?” Schuckers says. “And I think the public certainly is expressing their opinions on this, and it’s really up to technology and government to listen, in terms of what’s the right balance between security of your own devices, security of the country, and of course, your own privacy.”
Although biometrics offer an extremely strong alternative to traditional authentication methods, such as passwords and PINs, there is no such thing as 100 percent security, but having multiple gatekeepers in place can fortify the security of apps and systems. according to finextra.com.