Five reasons biometrics is (finally) the next big thing

We have been hearing about biometrics for quite some time, but as cybercrime figures soar, it seems biometrics’ time to become the best solution to fight cyber-fraud has finally come.

Biometrics has made the list of the “next big thing” for quite some time. Nevertheless, it may be as of today that it is really taking off as the best solution to prevent cyber-fraud by truly identifying individuals while protecting their privacy

The new research report published by Statista on February 2022 states that the global biometrics market is set to surpass 68.6 billion U.S. dollars (approximately 61.8 billion euros) by 2025. 

This momentum for biometrics is fueled by a significant rise in cyber-attacks originating from identity theft; the fact that users become increasingly overwhelmed with the need to keep track of multiple passwords that manage their access to places, events, and services in their day-to-day life with the risk of these being hacked; a shift in consumer’s attitude towards biometric technology; the costs of data breaches for the corporate world; and, finally, the evolution of biometric solutions technology. 

So, let’s go over the five reasons that biometrics are finally becoming the next big thing in the fight against cyber-crime, allowing dependable, secure authentication and identification of individuals while securing the privacy of their personal data. 

  1. Increase in cyber-attacks originated in identity theft. According to IBM’s Costs of Data Breach Report, the most common type of record lost was customer personally identifiable information (PII). It accounted for 44% of breaches, while 20% of breaches in businesses originated in compromised credentials. 

Microsoft’s Digital Defense report, based on more than 24 billion daily signals and observations made in 77 countries, including Spain, between July 2020 and June 2021, reveals that cybercrime is a mature market. 

According to Microsoft’s report, today, cybercriminals “rely on a mature supply chain, where specialists create cybercrime kits and services that other actors buy and incorporate into their campaigns”. The report says these services include “selling compromised credentials that may have been obtained from phishing, scraping botnet logs or other credential harvesting techniques, imposter domain names, phishing-as-a-service, customized lead generation (for example, victims by country, industry, or roles), loads (malicious software used to update malware on an infected computer), denial of service (DoS), and more”. 

Microsoft’s report states that in some markets, “compromised credentials are offered by different sellers for $1.00 USD to $50.00 USD”. 

  1. Countless passwords to manage with little security to offer. Password fatigue is growing among users as the average number of passwords to remember increases every day. According to a study commissioned by NordPass an average person is juggling with over 100 passwords to access sites and services, and 53% of users rely on memory to secure their passwords. 

According to Verizon’s 2021 Data Breach Investigations Report, 81% of hacking-related breaches used stolen passwords and/or weak passwords.

  1. A shift in the consumer attitude towards biometric technology. According to the latest Biometric Data Survey by Get App, released on February 2022, although some hurdles remain, the Covid-19 pandemic sparked a change in consumer’s attitudes towards biometric technology.

Going over some figures, 46% of the consumers interviewed felt that biometrics made the pandemic easier to deal with. 

Also, consumers felt more at ease sharing biometric data beyond fingerprints. The survey states that “comfort with iris scans rose by 31%, hand scans by 30%, and voice scans by 26%”. Get app reveals the most striking result: “consumer comfort with face scans jumped by 38%”.

Nevertheless, there is still concern about data breaches since there have been experiences of biometric data breaches stored in insecure databases. This issue can be overcome using solutions that do not require sending data over the Internet or storing it in any database. Instead, users can control their data using their own devices (smartphones with biometric capabilities) to secure their biometric patterns. 

  1. Security breaches mean high costs for companies in every industry. Cyber Security Ventures, one of the world’s leading research groups for the global cyber economy, expects global cyber-crime costs to reach up to 10.5 trillion USD (roughly 9.5 trillion euros) by 2025, from 6 trillion USD in 2021 (aprox. 4 trillion euros), according to their forecast relased in 2020.

IBM’s Costs of Data Breach Report findings state a 10% increase in the average total cost of a data breach, the highest in the report’s history. On average, data breaches that took over 200 days to identify and contain cost enterprises 4.5 million dollars (4 million euros), while those that took less than 200 days cost 3.6 million dollars (3.2 million euros).

  1. Biometrics technology has evolved and can offer passwordless identification and data privacy security.  Soon cyber-security might be defined by a shift in the installed paradigm in digital security: going from passwords to a person’s unique features will pave the way for new authentication standard. 

Biometrics enables the automated recognition of individuals according to both physical and behavioural traits. 

Physical traits can include the face, iris, and fingerprint scans, while behavioural traits are, for example, the signature, keystroke, and habits of a phone or computer user.

Mastercard’s white paper “Evolution of biometrics” reveals that aligning a superior user experience with superior security will translate to increased use of biometrics for transactions. It is expected that next year, in 2023, more than 2 trillion dollars (1.8 trillion euros) of transactions will be performed using biometrics.

Biometrics technology has evolved and is capable of offering secure and passwordless identification without risking the individual’s data.