Are biometrics foolproof?

Biometrics has become a USD 14 billion industry, largely driven by the rise of biometric security in mobile technology. In fact, 57% of apps today feature a biometric login option, and many are now choosing biometrics as the way to verify their identities or approve payments. But is the safety of biometrics really better than that offered by passwords and PINs?

Most think of biometrics as merely the physical identifiers of your body – your face, fingerprints, retinas, voice, etc. But biometrics is (or at least can be) so much more. It can incorporate how, when and where you use a device; how you hold it; how you move; how frequently you use it, etc. Moreover, biometrics, as a security device, isn’t standardized. Each device uses a unique approach, meaning that each requires a unique approach to hacking it. This means biometrics take far longer to hack into than passwords…but it is possible. Moreover, biometric sensors have proven to be less than reliable in many instances. For example, facial recognition can sometimes be fooled by 3D masks, photos and even similar-looking family members, and fingerprints have been susceptible to 3D printed fingerprints.

So, what this means is that, although the safety of biometrics is  better than that of traditional passwords and PINs, using the technology doesn’t make your device bulletproof. It is always important to use 2-step authentication, choose sound technology, know security fail points and maintain proper supervision over devices.