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WILL WE EVER WITNESS UNHACKABLE BIOMETRIC SECURITY?

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We often hear the word biometric, but what exactly is a biometric? A biometric usually refers to a device that can sense, record, and then process data based on some natural and sufficiently unique characteristics of the human body such as the fingerprint, face, voice, etc. which is stored in a database and accessible via computer. This is generally with the purpose of providing secure and hard to falsify authentication of an individual’s identity.

According to David Orme from Finance Derivative, By 2023, the global biometrics market is predicted to grow by more than 15%, to over $24 billion. This means that not only Americans are embracing the security of biometric authentication, emerging regions such as Latin America, Africa, and Asia are on this trend too. Over the years biometrics are getting sophisticated, just like a laptop to an ultrabook. Well, biometrics are improving too, but is a biometric unhackable?

 

Biometric Data Types

Face recognition

By measuring unique patterns of a person’s face such as face contours. It is widely used in smartphones and laptops, google is currently in the process of opening support to facial recognition with the ChromeOS platform.

Iris recognition

The person’s iris is very unique in that it is considered more secure than fingerprint, an iris is the colorful area of the eye surrounding the pupil, but it’s not widely used because of the high cost.

Fingerprint scanner

This is widely used in smartphones and laptops to unlock screens, it is capturing the unique patterns of ridges and valleys on a finger.

Voice recognition

The device would measure the unique sound waves in your voice as you speak to match in the database for identity, most banks use this to identify your identity when calling the about your account to prevent identity theft.

Hand Geometry

This is typically used in security applications, it’s about measuring and recording the length, thickness, width, and surface area of your hands.

Behavior characteristics

It analyzes the way you interact with a computerized system, like keystroke, handwriting, the way you walk, how you used the mouse, and other movements that can assess who you are.

 

Is Biometric Unhackable?

The truth is, biometrics are hackable. There are many ways to hack a biometric, it’s not that easy but it’s not that hard either. There are many brilliant people out there who always finds a way to hack something, take the anonymous as an example. The biometric manufacturer tries to build a formidable biometric, but someone out there can reverse engineer those and could find loopholes in its security.

 

Problems with Biometrics

Biometrics are not private

You may think that biometrics are sucre, after all, you are the only one owning your eyes, ears, fingerprint, etc. but that doesn’t guarantee safety. Your biometrics are exposed to the public.

Your biometric data features are exposed everywhere, it’s just a matter of strategy on how to get and use them, your fingerprint is found on anything you touch and there’s a way to acquire it, your face can be easily captured and used, your voice could be recorded. Yes, almost all of those are easy to acquire.

Biometrics can be forged

There are many recorded successful hacks on biometrics, in fact, once a hacker gets a picture of your biometric data such as eyes, finger, ears, etc. they can easily gain access to your account. Let’s take Apple’s touchID as an example, famous hacker Jan Krissler beat the technology just a day after the iPhone was released.

It’s very easy to steal anyone’s identification, the hacker just needs a high-resolution photo of your biometric data, one example is the German Minister of Defense Ursula von der Leyens, it only took a photo of his finger and reconstructed the thumbprint using VeriFinger and just like that Krissler gained access.

If you believe that an eye scan is more secure then you are wrong, a hacker fooled Samsung’s S8 iris recognition and it wasn’t even a high priced hack, it was executed by juts placing a contact lens made from a photo of the user’s eye.

Hack consequences on biometrics

The stolen user’s identity can be used to falsify documents, criminal records or passport which could do more damage beyond imaginable. The worst part of biometric data is that if stolen you have another eye, ear, voice, etc. means you can’t replace physical identifiers.

Biometric may provide another level of security but it’s not that foolproof, maybe in the years to come biometric companies could develop more secure identification through the use of biometric to deter inherent downfalls and possibly build an unhackable one.

 

Conclusion

As of now, biometrics have many things to improve. But nonetheless, it provides another level of security, it just a matter of how an organization implements it. Just like any other security, biometrics could be more secure if used correctly, like multiple authentications instead of solely relying on biometrics. We’ll never know in the future, biometric companies may develop an unhackable biometric that would strengthen the security around the globe.

 

Technology

BIOMETRICS: BALANCING SECURITY WITH CONVENIENCE

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Jean Fang, Authentication Product Manager and Joël Di Manno, Authentication and Biometrics Laboratory Service Line Manager at Fime

 

From a person’s face to their iris, voice or fingerprint, biometric solutions are giving us new ways to authenticate ourselves when using a device or making a payment. Research suggests that the global facial recognition market alone will be worth up to $13.87 billion by 2028, with other modes of authentication following a similar growth pattern.

The trend towards biometric authentication has been further accelerated by the global pandemic. Hygienic touchless identification solutions have become critically important. And, with customers already familiar with using biometric solutions on their phones, the growth of this industry only looks to continue. In this blog we will evaluate this growth and discuss some of the potential opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

 

Addressing fragmentation

Biometric authentication is an innovative and rapidly evolving technology. However, the speed with which it has developed brings with it unique challenges. The technology operates within a largely non-standardized ecosystem, meaning that it is fragmented on many fundamental issues. Little regulates how manufacturers and developers create and implement solutions.

The fragmentation that currently exists means that developers and manufacturers face three main challenges:

  • Increasing interoperability and adaptability.
  • Looking for a standardized certification process.
  • Formulating uniform benchmarking practices to allow developers to compare key performance metrics.

Addressing these three concerns will help create a simpler, more standardized biometrics ecosystem, allowing innovations to reach the market quicker and cheaper.

 

Security vs UX

The most notable emerging use cases for biometrics are payment authentication, access control and government administrative projects. All three require access to extremely personal data, and therefore it is essential for them to have very strong security.

Perhaps the major selling point of biometric solutions is their ability to provide the necessary security while enhancing the user experience (UX). However, overly-stringent security can negatively impact the UX. Therefore, there must be a trade-off between the two.

The best way to understand this balance is by comparing the False Acceptance Rate (FAR) with the False Rejection Rate (FRR). A low FAR gives a good indication that a solution is secure, as it only accepts the right user. Meanwhile, a high FRR provides a very high level of security, but creates friction – and potentially damages the UX – as it prevents genuine individuals from authenticating. Striking the right balance between these two is crucial to maintaining high security standards without creating a poor UX.

 

Multiple modalities for multiple solutions

The adaptability of biometric solutions means that original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) must constantly evaluate the available solutions and determine which is the best for their device. OEMs must develop a clear strategy to determine which biometric modality is best suited, factoring in cost, UX, speed and security.

However, there are also situations where device manufacturers may want to utilize multiple modalities. This can benefit both the UX and security of their solution, as it can address numerous concerns:

  • It can account for environmental concerns. For example, if a user is wearing gloves due to cold weather, making fingerprint scanning impossible, authentication can be achieved another way.
  • For high-risk authentications, multiple modalities can be utilized at once to achieve heightened security.
  • It also allows for adaptability regarding any future changes to the industry or regulatory requirements.

Determining which modalities will best serve a device and its deployment is one of the major challenges OEMs and developers face. The current lack of standardization only further complicates this. However, as the field grows and becomes less fragmented, the multimodality of biometric solutions will facilitate innovation and security for years to come.

 

Just the beginning

Biometrics have become a fixture of consumers’ everyday lives, but the huge successes seen in mobile technologies have not yet translated to other sectors. Innovations continue to push the boundaries of how we use biometrics, as they are rolled out in workplaces, homes and transportation. To reach widespread adoption, companies need to provide customers with assurance that their products are secure. Standardized testing and certification lay the foundations for this.

Biometric technologies continue to evolve daily, which means that the regulations and requirements that govern them need to do likewise. Standardizing the entire ecosystem would allow developers and OEMs to regularly test their products against uniform benchmarks, ensuring they are secure while keeping costs down and launching quicker.

 

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Business

A LOW-CODE LONDON MARKET – THE KEY TO INDUSTRY FUTUREPROOFING

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By Richard Farrell, Chief Innovation Officer at Netcall

 

Aged 332 years, the London Market isn’t new to the need to modernise. For many years, the insurance market has been cautious regarding change and technological advancement, whilst facing mounting pressure to radically transform and keep pace in the digital world. The pandemic, however, has amplified this need for change. Following a year of economic instability, London Market firms risk becoming obsolete if they do not take immediate and urgent action to modernise.

In September 2020, the London Market reported a half-year loss of £400m, compared with a £2.3bn profit in the first half of 2019, and expects to pay out around £5bn in COVID-related claims. With further turbulence and financial uncertainty ahead, the corporate body must keep its sights firmly set on cutting unnecessary costs and transforming internal processes to facilitate this.

Whilst throwing the sector into chaos, the pandemic was a true eye-opener for the Market. Relying on systems and processes built years ago, which were centred around people doing business in a City office, left the London Market at a crossroads and facing once-in-a-lifetime challenges and opportunities. Lockdown created an urgent need for new systems to support a new hybrid workforce, and within this need now lies the opportunity for London Market firms to rejuvenate – building greater efficiency into systems and processes to enable agility and future growth, as well as long-term digital ways of meeting and working. Intelligent automation technologies such as low-code platforms, when combined with robotic process automation (RPA) and powered by artificial intelligence (AI), will be pivotal to this transformation. With these platforms, London Market business users can collaborate and build new applications with IT teams without the need for costly and time-consuming traditional coding methods.

As a result of redesigning processes, London Market businesses can identify where efficiencies can be made and then rapidly develop optimised systems that keep both technology and people at their core. This will be crucial to achieving significant long-term cost savings and maintaining the London Market’s current position on an international level.

 

Using 2020 challenges as inspiration to evolve

The last year has seen a range of hurdles for both the London Market and individual businesses: a shift to remote working, the need to optimise costs, and the imperative to maintain status in the global order. These have not been easy, and these challenges are likely only the start of greater change that we will see in the coming months and years.

Businesses have proven in the last 12 months that they can adapt and shift when needed with the Blueprint plan, Lloyd’s of London’s ambitious plan to create the world’s most advanced insurance marketplace. Blueprint Two, which was released in November 2020 and built on March’s Blueprint One, established new ways of doing business, underpinned by the need for digital channels that enable advanced data collection and management. The right tech and tools can enable brokers, insurers and partners with delegated authorities to operate at a materially lower cost, estimated to be at least £800m as part of this evolution.

As John Neal, Lloyd’s of London CEO, states, the London Market needs to make itself ‘more relevant, more innovative and much more cost-effective’. Solutions that enable rapid digital transformation, whilst boosting efficiency and lowering costs, will be crucial to achieving this goal.

 

Future-proofing the London Market 

Due to its ease-of-use, low-code platforms can empower London Market teams to collaborate to build new applications in the fastest way possible and speed through application backlogs. Rather than taking a rip-and-replace approach to innovation, the technology can enable London Market organisations to stitch legacy systems together with new applications – effectively building upon existing investments to provide a better user and customer experience.

With the right technologies, the London Market can rapidly reduce inefficiencies by automating manual or broken processes, whilst also integrating with a number of different systems. This will enable organisations to provide a central platform that can give visibility across all parties – and in turn enable better decision-making through richer data and the use of AI.

Perhaps one of the more pressing London Market processes brought into the limelight during the pandemic has been the process of claims management – which intelligent automation solutions can help with too. With so many stakeholders involved, managing the claims lifecycle can be extremely complex, and the sheer number of claims being processed means that teams face huge pressure to provide swift service, and to keep claims pipelines moving. By consolidating data and processes under one platform, the lifecycle management can be improved to provide real-time information relating to a company’s claims exposures, including aggregates, and other elements such as supplier management. Greater visibility of these elements will, in turn, drive greater sector efficiencies.

 

Reshaping the London Market once and for all 

The next few months will bring myriad challenges and opportunities around reshaping how London Market businesses work and trade for the benefit of its clients and people. There are considerations for all organisations, including new ways of employee and trading partner engagement. A one-size-fits-all strategy simply won’t work in such a complex environment, but using the right software can unlock business benefits and growth potential for London Market firms large and small.

Fundamentally, London Market firms must invest in and prioritise the technologies that will enable their workforce to save time and drive value back to the organisation – as well as work how they want to work. Whilst the social nature of the London Market, which is largely based on personal networks, indicates a strong return to office work when lockdown restrictions are lifted, there is still likely to be some level of remote working moving forward.

Flexible and agile intelligent automation technologies can empower the London Market to join data together across numerous back-end systems to provide an easy-to-use workflow across complex process requirements. By enabling employees to make better-informed underwriting and claims decisions, based on better access to enriched information, organisations can not only drive greater efficiencies, but keep up with the demands of a digital-first future.

 

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