May 19, 2022
Every now and then, the world pivots. Something happens that changes the way we do everyday things.
2020 is the pivot toward the everyday use of biometric authentication.
Biometric authentication is better than passwords, 2FA, and non-FIDO MFA.
Biometrics replace passwords as an easier, safer way to authenticate. Biometric authentication measures (the metric) a user’s biology (a thumbprint, for example) against a stored version of that metric. If a match is made, authorization is granted instantly. Because biology-based proof is more secure than any other authentication technology we’ve seen, and because of its speed, accuracy, and accessibility, biometric authentication is becoming commonplace.
Biometric scanners can be used to secure physical entry points. Governments around the world already use fingerprint and retina scanners at airport gates and national borders. Private companies protect sensitive information with restricted biomarker floor and room access. But what has driven widespread acceptance of biometric technology has been its integration into smartphones, tablets, and laptops—any digital device with a user interface (UI).
Biology-based authentication is catching on because it’s sleek, efficient, and secure, and the barriers around it have disappeared. Biometric readers grant access in one single step without memory work (passwords) or retrieval (2FA/MFA).
And that sounds good to security companies, eCommerce sites, corporations, and to the average Joe.
Biometric authentication technology is utilized in 62 percent of companies, and an additional 24 percent plan to utilize it within two years. In fact, 46 percent of organizations are using biometric authentication tech on smartphones, which may be influenced by employees bringing their own mobile devices for work purposes. Additionally, 25 percent of organizations report using biometric authentication tech on laptops, while 22 percent use it on tablets, and 17 percent use it on time clock systems (popular in manufacturing) to verify the identity of employees. —Spiceworks
Military-grade high-tech biometric access is now mainstream, but most people don’t know that yet. And because the marketing fire that’s about to disrupt the authentication industry hasn’t ignited full scale, users are fumbling around with passwords.
Not all 2-Factor and Multi-Factor Authentication is created equal
Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) and Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) were created to address the weakness of passwords. A second protective layer of security makes it more difficult for a threat actor to steal your login info. Easy-to-steal passwords become less easy to steal. But 2FA has its own shortcomings, depending on what that second factor approach is.
It goes without saying that 2FA adds another step for the user. But that wouldn’t be a big deal if it really did provide more security. But let’s take a look at SMS OTP (one-time-password). That’s when a code is sent to your smartphone that you enter at the login screen of the website you are trying to gain access. The code verifies that the person making the transaction is in fact the owner. In theory, it makes sense. In practice, a malicious app can intercept that code, giving threat actors an opportunity to sneak in. And what if you don’t want to enter that 6-digit code to verify that you really are who you say you are? On the surface, entering a 6-digit code to verify that you really are who you say you are? On the surface, entering a 6-digit code isn’t much better than entering an 8-digital password.
But 2FA may be here for a while due to compliance mandates. Regulatory bodies bought into 2FA, so companies will head that way in the short term to satisfy regulatory compliance minimums.
Enter the FIDO Alliance and LoginID
“The FIDO Alliance is working to change the nature of authentication with open standards that are more secure than passwords and SMS OTPs, simpler for consumers to use, and easier for service providers to deploy and manage.” — FIDO Alliance
FIDO explains the password problem like this:
- Passwords are the root cause of over 80% of data breaches
- Users have more than 90 online accounts
- Up to 51% of passwords are reused
- 1/3 of online purchases abandoned due to forgotten passwords
- $70: average help desk labor cost for a single password reset
All that sounds very unsafe and expensive, doesn’t it?
That’s why FIDO has worked very hard to replace password-only logins with secure and fast login experiences across websites and apps that will
- Mitigate data breach risks and damages
- Deploy FIDO-enabled services (like LoginID) to a rapidly growing addressable market
- Design a low-friction user experience that will create more site visitors, brand affinity, and employee productivity
- Provide huge cost savings through avoidance of password resets, device provisioning, customer support
Some of the biggest corporations depend on it (Bank of America, DropBox, Ebay, Google, PayPal, Target, and Amazon to name a few). And though it works with 2FA and MFA to make these forms of authentication stronger against phishing and other common attacks, it works most effortlessly with passwordless biometric authentication.
What are the benefits of biometric authentication in 2020?
It’s hard to fake a biological trait. Like, next to impossible.
In contrast to passwords, badges, or documents, biometric data cannot be forgotten, exchanged, stolen, or forged. According to calculations made by Sir Francis Galton (Darwin's cousin), the probability of finding two similar fingerprints is one in 64 billion even with identical twins (homozygotes). —ThalesGroup
That’s why biology makes sense as a secure way to prove identity. And yet, it took a long time to get here as a readily-used alternative to passwords. There were tech hurdles to overcome before biological traits could be introduced to the world as a better option than memorized key clicks.
Now that the technology is precise, biometric authentication is grabbing hold at a ferocious pace. There are a few reasons for that, but user experience is the top driver for adoption.
It’s convenient. Your biology is always with you. You don’t have to remember a string of characters, and you don’t have to store that easy-to-hack yet hard-to-remember combination in a password vault (which comes with its own set of security risks and access inconveniences). Biometric authentication takes the burden off the user.
It’s easy to install. A common misconception is that biometric authentication will require a multi-stage, capital-intensive installation, and probably a team of expensive programmers. Maybe even an entirely different platform built on top of current company software and servers. But, with our help, ease-of-installation can be one of the many bonuses of biometric authentication. LoginID offers open-source code that makes authentication using biomarkers a programmer’s dream to integrate. To make things easy, LoginID offers strong biometric authentication to the masses. We developed LoginID’s API as a one-click grab-and-go. There are no barriers to implementation. And everyone can access strong authentication technology—which makes the world a safer place, one secure biometric login at a time.
3.** It’s affordable.** The cost of protecting against dark web activities (identity theft, account takeover fraud, and enterprise data breaches) costs $millions. That makes investing in a rock-solid biometric authentication system that stops threat actors from stealing confidential information a smart option. The good news is that biometric-based technology can now be cost-effective - even cheap compared to compliance penalties and after-the-fact emergency maneuvers. LoginID provides a flexible cost model. The first tier is free. Payment scales as users scale, a model that works well for eCommerce enterprises because less friction at the cart means more success at the cart. And more success at the cart means more profit. And with rising revenue comes the ability to pay at scale for the biometric technology that reduces friction in the first place.
Faced with document fraud and identity theft, new threats such as terrorism or cybercrime, and the changes in international regulations, new technological solutions are gradually being implemented. One of these technologies, biometrics, has quickly established itself as the most pertinent means of identifying and authenticating individuals in a reliable and fast way, through the use of unique biological characteristics. —ThalesGroup
It’s safer. The biggest benefit to biometrics is security. It’s the most unbreakable authentication technology that exists today. Passwords can be stolen and cracked— 80% of data breaches leveraged weak or phished passwords. But biometrics removes the “stealable” component. No credentials are entered. No server-side secrets are saved. The verification pathway can’t be intercepted because, with biometric authentication, the stored mirror-image of your biomarker stays right there on your device.
It’s a better experience. User experience tops the charts in 2020. It’s no longer good enough just to make things secure. Logging in has to provide a great experience, too. This is true with the job market, inbound marketing, website design, and the authentication industry. If developers want to streamline usability, frictionless carts win the day. And what makes those carts frictionless is that the buyer can click the buy button, scan a biomarker, and complete the transaction without pause. Studies show that when a buyer pauses at the password stage (because they can’t remember their password), that causes cart abandonment. Cart abandonment costs the eCommerce industry $18 billion a year. The buyer ends up frustrated and the seller ends up short. Biometric authentication gives buyers a quick and easy (and super secure) way to complete a purchase. The buyer is happy with a brand new ‘whatever’, the seller is happy to make a sale, and the developer who created that easy buying experience gets hired to do the same elsewhere. Win-win-win.
Biology-based security as a futuristic concept has been replaced by widespread acceptance and a race to implement biometric tech in the workplace, on eCommerce websites, and in our personal lives.
Security professionals are on board
IT managers spend too much time fortifying the critical weaknesses of passwords that hackers have exploited for 60 years. Employees take their work home where firewalls don’t exist and wireless routers blink away naked in basements like beacons for threat actors. The limping password threatens to tear down the tightly-managed security system that blockades the office. It’s going to open up too many breach opportunities as employees try to grab their files from wherever they’re working remotely—a trend that has gained enormous momentum, increasing 173% since 2005. Security providers look to squash those vulnerabilities and biometric authentication fits the bill.
Consumers are on board
On the other side of the digital verse, consumers beg for a way to buy the stuff in their cart without jumping through hoops. Aside from being vulnerable to phishing scams that dupe users into voluntarily handing over their dog’s name + birth year, passwords are cumbersome. Sentimentality makes them too easy to figure out and short passwords can be unlocked by hacker algorithms in seconds. That’s why minimum password lengths exist, a frustrating safeguard that results in exclamation marks and zeroes at the end of standard alphanumeric combinations—slight variations of ol’ faithful. Long, meaningless passwords require memory acrobatics or paying for a password vault to store those variations. Needless to say, the desire to move beyond passwords has been there at the end-user level for a while, too.
What types of biometric identifiers are used as authentication methods?
There are different unique human traits that can be used to confirm identity:
- Fingerprint scanning
- Facial recognition
- Voice recognition
- Ocular scanning
Fingerprint scanners were the first biology-based readers built into smartphones, with Apple and Samsung leading that charge. Then Apple took things one step further releasing facial recognition on its iPhone X. Smartphone users leapt at the chance to touch or look at their screens for instant access to the hundreds of apps that ran their lives. But pin codes and pattern codes still lived on these devices as fail safes for when these new bio-scanners failed to recognize thumbprints and faceprints.
What makes biometrics-based authentication so secure?
Two words: encryption and uniqueness.
Biometric data is more secure than passwords as an authentication mechanism because it depends on the DNA of its user. An algorithm processes an image into a digital construction. It converts unique biological minutiae points and patterns into binary zeros and ones. It then compares those zeros and ones and requires an exact match. Phishing scams work with passwords because they trick the user into giving away their login credentials. Biometrics takes gullibility out of the equation. You can’t give away your face print, iris markers, or thumb pattern.
3 reasons why LoginID FIDO biometrics is the industry leader
In any market or industry, there will be players and there will be leaders. Here’s what separates LoginID FIDO biometrics from the pack:
Industry based, not proprietary. By its nature, open-source is a shared platform where no company and no person owns it. When a piece of technology is owned by one entity, that technology gets pushed down a narrow hallway that makes that entity money (where you must trust that entity’s claims about standards and security). But with open source, that same piece of technology is worked on by thousands of people who don’t have an agenda and where the giant open visibility means you can see adherence for yourself (greater audibility). Because of its open nature, FIDO LoginID biometrics will work across all platforms on all devices regardless of the behemoth at the top (Android, Apple etc.). Linus Torvalds (the creator of Linux) said that “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow” (Linus’ Law). That means the more people who have access to and can test a thing, the fewer flaws there will be and the quicker any flaws will be flagged and fixed. Open-source adheres to open standards better than proprietary, which makes for greater interoperability across companies, markets, industries, devices, and platforms. That’s LoginID.
It’s hardware-based, so there is no risk of software attacks. FIDO protocols use standard public-key cryptography to provide stronger authentication (for registration and login). When registering on a website, the user’s device creates a key pair between that device (the private key) and the public service (the public key). The device holds onto that key and registers the public key with the online service. Then, when logging in, authentication matches the private key on the client device with the public key. The client’s private keys can be used only after they are unlocked locally on the device using biometrics. The local unlock takes only a second, scanning a fingerprint, speaking into a microphone, or looking straight ahead to recognize biometric facial features. The FIDO protocols are designed from the ground up to protect user privacy. The protocols do not provide information that can be used by different online services to collaborate and track a user across the services. Biometric information, if used, never leaves the user’s device. — FIDO Alliance
It’s accepted by regulatory authorities worldwide and it’s gaining momentum in the industry. A great thing is only great if it both disrupts the industry and gains adopters because of that disruption. LoginID FIDO biometric authentication has proven itself as the way forward in the authentication industry. It is now used and supported by some of the biggest companies in the world. In 2020 LoginID is poised for mass adoption as the technology becomes more widely known amongst the smaller circles who will find it easier to trust what the big players use and love.
Biometric authentication is the passwordless future
The global biometric market is expected to top USD 50 billion by 2024. We’ve moved beyond passwords, but the rollout is still happening and the science, algorithms, and scanning devices are still improving. Roughly half of all websites and apps still use passwords as the only form of authentication. Just around the corner, everyone will know about, and start using, biometric authentication because consumer adoption will make it commonplace. Until recently, biometric technology was difficult to source. When found, it wasn’t easy to integrate. But companies like LoginID have changed that, knocking down the barriers, reducing friction, and increasing security. If we want to move beyond passwords for good and upend the unsafe, clunky status quo, the purveyors of biometric authentication must make it easy to adopt. LoginID’s copy/paste API makes biometric authentication freely accessible for any developer to install on any site or server, creating a seamless experience for individuals and a profitable result for enterprises.