Biometric Identification revolutionizing the world in 2020

Biometric Identification revolutionizing the world in 2020

Every day we come face to face with new technology innovations that leave us awestruck. From the past few years, the world is witnessing technology change that is not only impacting the industries but also defining the new lines about how we communicate and interact with each other. One such technology bringing revolution is biometric technology. Biometrics is defined as the unique and intrinsic physical and biological characteristics of a person that verifies their identity.

The history of biometrics 

The concept of biometrics has been there for centuries, the only difference is in the advancement in their use. Back in the 19th century, Bertillon was the first one to use specific anatomical characteristics for the identification of reoffending criminals. This technique has proved to be quite successful for years, however, it was not much reliable that soon turned it into a thing of past.

Afterward, this budding use technology was reacquired by a British officer, William James, who was put in charge of road construction in Bengal. He made his subcontractors sign the contract through fingerprints –  the early and most common form of biometric authentication. This fueled up the use of biometrics in different industries and countries. In 1901, the UK Metropolitan Police started the use of biometric identification.

In 1902, the New York police and French police also followed their suit. Later in 1924, the FBI adopted biometrics for identification. Apart from fingerprints, the concept of behavioral biometrics – a measurement of unique patterns – isn’t new either. For instance, back in 1860s telegraph operators recognized each other through Morse code which means the distinguished pattern they would send dot and dash signals. 

Trends in Biometric Identification

Identifying individuals based on their unique physical, biological and behavioral characteristics is the fundamental principle of biometrics. The use of biometrics is rapidly growing especially in terms of security and customer experience. Every industry is now incorporating biometric technology for the successful growth of the business. Biometrics first started as fingerprint recognition which is still considered the most common and extensively adopted biometric identification method.

At first, fingerprint scanning was associated with the voting system but now for a few years, it has been promptly used by the organizations as user authentication systems. From offices to schools, the institutions use fingerprints for marking attendance and allowing access to authorized people only after identity authentication. This is just one use case, multiple others are already exploring business operation through biometrics. In 2013, when the iPhone introduced a fingerprint scanner, people found this feature a thing from the future and hence it gained popularity among other brands. 

Fast forward, fingerprint scanning isn’t the only form of biometric identification. In 2018, with the launch of ‘FaceID’ in iPhone X, using facial recognition technology, biometric authentication seems like a mandatory requirement of smartphones. This highlights the increasing trend of biometric identification and verification. The race isn’t about differentiating between different types of biometrics but to focus on the biometric adoption for better security and customer experience. 

As per the study by Spiceworks, 90% of businesses will be using biometrics by 2020. 

Biometrics and Identity –  Who you are?

Biometric identification is a fastly-growing phenomenon, particularly in the identity verification market. From a general perspective, biometrics are often combined with other technologies to gain competitive advantage, for instance, AI-powered biometric verification systems to confirm the user identity and facilitating organizations in curbing fraud and making the business secure and free of imposters.

The identity of an individual has been verified using three common factors that include

  1. Something you know, like a username and password, pin codes or some secret information.
  2. Something you have, for instance, a bike belongs to one who has its keys. In terms of technology, we can say a verification code or a one-time password.
  3. Something you are, means unique characteristics – a face, fingerprint, voice, iris, etc.  – of an individual.

From these three authentication ways, the first two are not secure and reliable. The reason is the technological advancements through which cybercriminals and fraudsters are finding ways to access and steal user credentials; for instance, phishing, social engineering, and brute force attacks. If the identification data is compromised, then how to ensure that the person on the other end is an authorized person, not some imposter.

However, in the case of biometrics, they can’t be stolen, forgotten, exchanged or forged that makes them accurate and secure to verify the identity of individuals. The biometric identification methods are evolving with time. The ‘old school’ identification and authentication methods are being replaced with voice recognition, retina scans, facial recognition, and fingerprint identifications.

Every method of biometric identification is unique and reliable depending on the utilization of emerging technologies. It won’t be an understatement to say that individual identification through biometrics is progressing at a commendable rate and soon can become a global standard.

Major use cases of Biometric identification

Biometric systems use physical characteristics to verify the identity of individuals. And these characteristics can be in any form from fingerprints to face biometrics. These biometric systems are being employed by multiple organizations across the globe. Initially, it was meant to facilitate law enforcement and government agencies such as the FBI and CIA to identify criminals and threats to national security. 

The digitization of the world is driving businesses to integrate biometric systems to survive the competition layer. Here are some significant use cases of biometric identification and verification.

Biometric Access Controls

Biometric access control systems are effective in keeping imposters and unauthorized individuals at a bay by preventing them from accessing a system, networks or some facilities through biometric authentication. In the world of technology, logical access control is accounted as a corresponding factor for user authentication. Moreover, these systems facilitate organizations in meeting ‘identity and access management’ policies.

Contrary to passwords, pin codes, and access cards that can be stolen, forgotten or compromised, biometric authentication is secure and reliable since it’s base on who you are instead of something you know or possess. Similar to the mobile industry, other companies have started using fingerprint scanning and facial recognition in their authentication systems.

An integral part of KYC

Know Your Customer (KYC) check is one of the obligations imposed on every business dealing with money whether a bank, money exchange or e-commerce. As per the KYC regulation, companies need to verify and authenticate the customer’s identity during the onboarding process and for conducting customer due diligence. This is a fundamental for combatting digital fraud, identity theft, financial crimes, and money laundering.

Integrating biometric identification checks, organizations can streamline the KYC process making it faster and more efficient. Moreover, the automated verification through biometrics makes the onboarding process frictionless hence, improving customer experience.

Multi-modal biometrics for security

Biometric technology comes with a wide range of practices and techniques that can easily penetrate into different domains including state security, identity verification, and customer convenience and experience. Multimodal biometrics are generally used in forensic identification and identity management sectors. The multimodal biometric systems combine various biometric sources such as fingerprints, iris, and face, for more accurate identification minimizing false positives and increasing security and customer convenience.

The way forward

Biometric adoption is on the rise; as per Global Market Insights, the global biometric market is expected to grow up to $50 billion by 2024. This figure provides a significant insight into the impact of biometrics on the industries. In the near future, to say biometric identification is going to be a global standard for customer verification won’t be wrong.

Biomerics in visa process reducing the travel difficulties

How biometrics in visa process reduce travel difficulties

Biometric technology is enhancing the travel industry in many ways.  Factors that drive the secure growth of business include customer experience and security and this technology is facilitating the travel industry to meet both factors without compromising any. Your picture is captured by security to face match with the records of various suspects in their database using facial recognition technology.

Biometric technology is being deployed to track down terrorists by detecting faces of every traveler. High technology security cameras installed with specific cameras are used to capture the images of people. These pictures will then be matched and compared with the faces of known suspects in the database containing data of high-risk entities. Police will be alerted when the system recognizes a known suspect who has a perfect face match with their records. 

An Intro to Biometric Technology

In 2016, the biometric market in the United States reached $3.52 billion and is expected to grow significantly in the coming decade.  For most countries, the primary goal behind the introduction of biometrics for foreign travel is to refrain criminal entities from entering their country. 

For example, in the United States, an advanced face recognition system is installed at the airport checkpoints to analyzes over 100 reference points for each person to ensure if people are who they say they are. Biometric technology is a desirable standard for dozens of countries to verify people crossing their borders. The biometric technology comprises many different types, including but not limited to these: 

  • Fingertip recognition: To identify the users their fingerprint structure is analyzed.
  • Iris recognition: The iris of the eye is analyzed for its pattern
  • Face recognition: Face recognition algorithms are used that map the face
  • Voice recognition: Voice authentication of a person is conducted 
  • Palm recognition: Hand geometry or the vein pattern is detected. 

Data storage of biometrics

Individual photos and fingerprints are stored in a secure database that is only accessible by authorized officers.  Biometric authentication systems compare the collection of biometric data with storage, authentic data in a database. 

Biometric Technology in Visa Process – An Insight

Biometric technology has become an integral part of visa processing. When you go for a visa application you will be asked to provide your biometrics along with the necessary documents. The representatives will collect these:

  • take a photo of your face with a digital camera
  • scan all 10 of your fingertips with a digital finger scanner

Applicants should know about biometrics and if they are under the age of 16 and incapable of understanding biometric collection they should have a parent or guardian with them. Some countries do not collect fingerprints of children under 5 years of age and only take their photos. Following are a few conditions to fulfill before giving your biometrics:

Face or fingerprints injuries must be healed first

You should wait if you have any injury on your face or finger until the injury has healed before providing biometrics. If anyone is missing a finger, the fingerprints of the remaining fingers are collected. At times you can not give fingerprints if you have any temporary decoration on your hands or fingers such as mehndi or tattoos. 

Applicants must remove glasses

Initiated since November 1st, 2016, a law was implemented according to which customers applying for a passport must remove glasses for their photo. Glasses were a major hurdle to identify a person from their photo. Many visa applications were put on hold and were delayed due to this problem.  So that is why people were asked to take off their glasses, in some cases even the religious head coverings, to get their photo in the visa application process.

Facial recognition technology fails at a time in rightly identifying a person if they have grown a beard or have glasses on so to avoid any such inconvenience people were asked to remove glasses as the applicant’s face must be clearly visible from forehead to the bottom of the chin. So you might have to remove your glasses and hand coverings   If you do:

  • your photo and fingerprints will be collected in private
  • you can ask to have them collected by someone of the same gender

Why Biometrics are Used for Visa Processing?

The Biometrics of people are used to identify them which helps to:

Protect  from identity fraud

Fake identities are a common threat these days. In 2018, 14 million identities were stolen in the United States, and more than 50% of these identities were used to defraud businesses and banks. Cheats use stolen or false identities to commit many crimes like money laundering, terrorist financing, drug trafficking, human trafficking, etc. Criminals use stolen, fake or synthetic identities to onboard. Face verification ensures that the person using the ID for verification is the original owner of the ID card and not an imposter. 

To make travel safer

Biometrics are used to make travel safe and secure. By authenticating every person at the time of visa application doubts related to their originality can be mitigated. Biometrics, a budding technology, is being used at every touchpoint of the journey to provide border services with greater security and to make traveling easier. 

To secure borders

An unprecedented number of people are on the move, and the numbers are rising up. So to secure our borders it is important to identify people who are migrating or traveling. Biometric technology using face verification and fingerprints is hard to be fooled and is widely used for authentication and security.

This technology works on identifying unique features of an individual that are difficult to duplicate, so it is hard to spoof such a technology. Due to this, it’s widely being adopted to fight back different types of frauds. Biometrics are checked with other international agencies to verify these:

  • Identity of a person
  • The criminal history of a person
  • Protection status of a person

Some groups of people think that this so-called innovative technology will compromise the privacy of people for the sake of security. However, despite a lot of backlash for this technology the authorities are strongly defending this innovation and state that the security of public places can’t be compromised under any circumstances.

Even with this reservation privacy activists have not shown any resistance in this and the technology is being used for providing a safe and secure travel experience. Biometric technology has enhanced the travel industry.

Landry’s Inc. warns customers of the potential data breach

Landry’s Inc. warns customers of the potential data breach

Landry’s Inc., a parent company of more than 60 restaurant chains, installed a payment processing solution at all Landry’s owned locations back in 2016. This solution uses end-to-end encryption technology to secure the customer’s data.

The Houston-based company that owns more than 600 restaurants, hotels and casinos in the United States, recently warned the customers about the data breach. This breach could have compromised the credit card information of the users. As per company warning, the data breach has more likely affected the cards used during March 13 and October 17, 2019.

As Landry stated on its website about the unauthorized access to their network, it claimed that the breach may have occurred at the time when the servers swiped customers’ cards in machines. The card swiping was intended to place food and drink orders to the kitchen/bar. Moreover, as per Landry’s, these machines are separate from those used on point-of-sale terminals.

Though the company hasn’t exactly given proper numbers and stats about the breach, it has warned the customers to be cautious and look out for any unusual activity happening to their card. 

Let’s see how much customer’s data have been compromised.

 

DOJ Arrested Three Individuals In A $722 Million Cryptocurrency Ponzi Scheme

DOJ Arrested Three Individuals In A $722 Million Cryptocurrency Ponzi Scheme

The Department of Justice arrested three men on Tuesday, December 10, on charges of running an elaborate Ponzi scheme of $722 million since 2014. 

The DOJ issued a press release about the main incident saying, 

‘Matthew Brent Goettsche, 37, of Lafayette, Colorado, and Jobadiah Sinclair Weeks, 38, of Arvada, Colorado, are charged by indictment with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and Goettsche, Weeks, and Joseph Frank Abel, 49, of Camarillo, California, are charged by indictment with conspiracy to offer and sell unregistered securities…Two defendants remain at large and their identities remain under seal.’

According to Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office, Paul Delacourt, 

‘Those arrested today are accused of deploying elaborate tactics to lure thousands of victims with promises of large returns on their investments in a bitcoin mining pool, an advanced method of profiting on cryptocurrency…The defendants allegedly made hundreds of millions of dollars by continuing to recruit new investors over several years while spending victims’ money lavishly.’

The press release gives further details about the operations of ‘BitClub Network’ and how it fooled investors. The network was a pretend mining pool operation that fooled investors through false returns on Bitcoin mining operations while not actually mining any Bitcoin. The three individuals arrested were the ones who operated the network and claimed to offer shares in a ‘mining pool’ for Bitcoin. 

According to the press release by DOJ, Goettshce considered his target audience as ‘dumb’ investors and said he was ‘building this whole model on the backs of idiots’. ‘BitClub Network’ traveled the entire world to sell to new investors and made claims that they were too big of a company to fail. 

 

Biometrics Bucking the Trend of KYP in Healthcare

Biometrics Bucking the Trend of KYP in Healthcare

Over the last few years, biometric technology is deeply entrenched in various commercial marketplaces and industries. Here in 2019, a breakthrough potential of biometrics ‘ practical application can be seen in a variety of vertical domains and markets. Among those, the healthcare sector is reforming the security standards and patients records through biometrics. According to MRFR (Market Research Future), the global biometrics healthcare market is expected to grow $5.6 Billion by 2022 i.e. CAGR of 22.3%.

This remarkable increase is as a result of demand for advanced devices and diagnosis methods in healthcare. Reason being, 2000+ data breaches that compromised the confidential medical information of thousands of patients. In April 2019, about 46 healthcare data breaches came onto the surface which shows a 48% increase in from previous month and over the past five years. To overcome these issues, biometrics are grazing the pastures of healthcare security systems. By introducing an additional security layer of a biometric authentication system, hospitals are ensuring authorized and controlled access to databases.

Biometrics technologies such as face recognition, fingerprint scanning, hand geometry, and iris/retina scanning have long-held promise to ensure patients and employee identification. Hospitals across the world are catching up with the benefits of this technology for the security of confidential medical records, medical insurances, and personal data against data breaches and identity thefts. The purpose of ‘Know Your Patient’ or KYP is well-served with biometrics.

Know Your Patient (KYP) is Easy with Biometrics

Biometrics are used to provide a seamless way for patient’s identification. It is crucially important to identify and verify the identity of patients. According to WHO (World Health Organization), accurate patient identification is among the nine priorities considered for improved patient safety. Before proceeding to medical prescription and procedures, clinicians are supposed to correctly identify the patient. 

Biometrics act as a patient’s identifier that helps identifies an identity if it is too ill to verify the identity. For this, a patient would first have to enroll in a biometric identification system. For this patients would have to prove the identity against insurance documents, medical certificates or government-issued identity documents. After identity registration, biometrics information will be stored that could be in the form of fingerprint scanning or face recognition (mostly). Hospital management will secure electronic medical records against that identity into the database. Once enrolled, identity will be verified at each stage of treatment in the hospital. 

Furthermore, patients identification helps doctors analyze medical history in an effective manner. Within seconds, biometrics are able to authenticate the identity and open up all the personal and medical details that can assist doctors better in treatment. Biometric service can be extended further for patients to view their electronic medical reports at home anytime by logging in to the hospital online portal and verifying identity in real-time through biometrics. 

Biometrics Use-Cases in Healthcare

Biometric technology is paving ways in the healthcare sector. The major concerns refer to patient data privacy and record security. In healthcare, the following are the top use-cases that can serve industry better with biometrics.

Securing Medical Data

A major threat in the medical industry. Due to the incidences of identity theft or unintentional personnel neglection while securing the health data of patients result in various issues. Biometric authentication helps secure the accounts and details of patients and staff by providing an additional security layer in which password leakage and so data tempering is thing of the past. 

Streamlining Patient Identification System

A hospital has to manage millions of health records, test results, medications, and diagnoses, etc. despite their effort of efficiently managing all paper records, 7-10% of patients get misidentified that even leave to deadly consequences. Biometrics such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanning software are contributing to dramatically reduce the record loss and theft. 

Reducing Health Insurance Fraud

Health insurance records and old-age medical benefits are sensitive data that need to be highly secured. Unauthorized access to confidential information can affect hospitals as well as the lives of patients badly. To mitigate the risk of unauthorized data access and insurance frauds, biometrics can help stand a security wall against fraudsters. By directly linking patients biometrics information with medical records, data can be secured.  

Restricting Pharmaceuticals’ Access in Hospitals

Pharmaceutical misuse and identity theft are a million-dollar problem in the healthcare industry. Identification of patients and providing them correct pharmaceuticals is crucially important. Biometrics assist in providing relevant medical details of identity against the patient’s name. In this way, controlled access to pharmaceuticals can be ensured in hospitals.

Protecting patients Identity in Online World

For secure virtual rooms for patients, it is important to take dynamic security measures to protect the identities of the patient in the digital world. Online security of digital patient identity should be protected to avoid fraudsters from misusing them against their malevolent purposes. Online security with passwords and PIN is not resourceful today. Fraudsters have ways to take out username and password information through credentials stuffing. Here biometrics come, that ensure authorised access to online accounts and could be login with biometric verification. Secondly, user experience remain intact with security.

Segmental Analysis of Healthcare Biometrics Market

Applications of biometrics in the healthcare industry are segmented into data security, patient identification (KYP), medical record management, and controlled access. Identity thieves steal identities from medical records that most of the time belong to children and elders. Their identities are used for performing several malicious actions that vary from cyberbullying to money laundering and criminal activities etc. The real identities of children specifically are used as they surely would not have been part of any criminal record. 

Moreover, some of the fraudsters dig out these identities and their financial aid records, medical insurance records, and fee-medical services certificates to avails benefits for free. 

Online hospital portals and medical stores operating online should also be well-aware of the associated risks. Cyberattacks can affect hundreds of patients and even their families. In addition to this, the patients’ record managed online is prone to cyberattacks and breach. Therefore, there is a dire need to take in place KYP practices that verify each onboarding identity first to deter the risks of unauthorized access to private data. 

Regional Analysis of Healthcare Biometrics Market

Based on the regional analysis on the use and need of biometrics technology, the market is segmented into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Middle East.

North America: North America region accounts for the largest healthcare biometrics market share probably due to the demand for regulatory obligations and well-established hospitals. There are some other influentials factors that include a wide uptake of digitization into medical sectors by introducing biometrics and medical insurance progression in the industry. Along with this, the demand for medical applications and software coupled with electronic medical records and efficient maintenance are contributing to regional growth and advancements. 

Region of the United States is advancing in patients’ identity verification solutions and identification along with data security and management. With these initiatives, the region is expected to grow more in the coming years.  

Europe: Leading at the second position being a lucrative market with respect to healthcare biometrics. Healthcare facilities in Europe are driving the healthcare biometric market to grow. Additionally, the investments in medical record management, especially in the field of the healthcare sector, is fueling the growth of biometrics and technological adoption in the region.  

Asia Pacific: The healthcare biometrics market is growing rapidly in the Asia Pacific region. Technological advancements and their adoption in this region are outlining the landscape of the market in this region. Furthermore, India, China, and APAC are also expecting to grow with respect to initiatives in the healthcare industry by introducing biometrics for efficient patients’ records management and identification. 

Conclusion

Biometric identification in the healthcare sector is streamlining the functions and procedures of health data management and consistency in records. Authorized access is contributing to the security of data against identity theft and data breaches. Additionally, biometric verification provides a seamless user experience along with security. This is the reason that its adaption in various fields is praised. In the coming years, most of the medical norms will be seen greasing the wheel with biometrics.

Google Warns 12,000 Victims of Government Hacks

Google Warns 12,000 Victims of Government Hacks

In just three months, from July to September 2019, Google sent out 12,000 warnings to people who were suspected of being targeted by a government-backed hacking attempt. Google’s Threat Analysis Group revealed in a blog post that during the three months from July to September this year, users across 149 countries were warned that they were targeted by government-backed attackers. The majority of the users were in America and 90% were targeted with phishing emails that were trying to steal the login details for Google accounts of users. 

Google’s Threat Analysis Group (TAG) serves to counter targeted and government-backed hacking against Google and its users. According to Google, the data was consistent with the number of warnings sent in the period of 2018 and 2017. This meant that the nation-state hackers didn’t step up their level of attacks. 

The Threat Analysis Group has been tracking numerous government-sponsored hackers, most prominently a group called Sandworm. The US government considers Sandworm a Russian-backed crew that was responsible for the catastrophic NotPetya ransomware attacks of 2017. In November 2018, Sandworm was targeting Android users. 

High-risk users like journalists, human rights activists, and political campaigns are advised by Google to use their Advanced Protection Program (APP). It bundles secret keys onto USB and Bluetooth devices that the user connects to their device after entering the password for their Google account. The hacker has to have access to that physical key to get access to that account even if they have the login password. An average user can also use that same kind of protection who is particularly concerned about their privacy and security. 

Amazon sued over illegal

Amazon Sued Over Illegal Storage of Employee Biometric Data

Lawyers from the firm of McGuire Law P.C. of Chicago filed a class action complaint on November 15, against Amazon Web Services (AWS) accusing AWS of violating the Illinois Biometric Privacy Act (BIPA).  

This lawsuit is the latest in a series of BIPA violation suits filed against major enterprises across the state of Illinois. The act aims to defend the individual from having their biometric data recorded, saved, or used without their signed consent. 

The lawsuit specifically targets the storage provided by AWS on its server network for employers and other “commercial customers” who have scanned and captured so-called biometric data from employees, customers, and others. 

According to the complaint, “Defendant (AWS) stores a myriad of types of data on behalf of a wide range of customers spanning virtually every industry sector.” “Notably, Defendant (AWS) also offers cloud storage services for businesses that handle biometric identifiers and biometric information. For example, some of the Defendant’s customers are commercial businesses that require their employees to provide their biometrics, e.g. fingerprints, to check-in and out of their shifts at work.”

The lawsuit alleges that AWS “converts this information into usable formats and mediums for its customers.”

Over the course of the last few years, the 2008 BIPA law has been used to target giant tech companies like Google and Facebook over facial recognition programs. But it has fundamentally been focused against employers across all spectrum of industries who demand biometric data from their workers. This biometric data can be in the form of fingerprint scans or other biometric modalities in order to verify the identity of the worker when punching a time clock for work shifts or when obtaining sensitive data or secured areas. 

labour party victim

Labour Party Victim of a Second Cyber-Attack

Britain’s Labour Party has informed that it had been a victim of a large-scale cyberattack on its digital platforms. The party is confident that the attack didn’t affect them and there was no data breach. This cyberattack is just before a national election. 

The second cyberattack happened on a Tuesday afternoon. Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the Labour Party said that targeting the party’s digital platform could be a “sign of things to come” with the general election ahead. 

The first cyberattack happened on Monday and it slowed down some of the party’s campaign motions. The timing of the first attack made the Labour leader “nervous” about what might happen ahead in the election campaign.  

Speaking at a Labour campaign event in Blackpool, Jeremy Corbyn revealed his concerns about the consequences of this attack for the rest of the election campaign. He said, 

“We have a system in place in our office to protect us against these cyberattacks, but it was a very serious attack against us. So far as we’re aware, none of our information was downloaded and the attack was actually repulsed because we have an effective in-house developed system by people within our party.” 

You can listen to what Corbyn said of the attack in full detail here. 

 

The attack was described as The Disturbed Denial of Service (DDoS) attack which floods a computer server with traffic in attempts to take it offline. The party described the attack as “sophisticated and large scale”. 

According to Huffington Post, a source at the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), which is responsible for investigating the incident, said it was relatively “low level” with no evidence of “state-sponsored activity”.

Homeland Security expects to have biometric data on nearly 260 million people

Homeland Security expects to have biometric data on nearly 260 million people

The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will soon have face, fingerprint and iris scans of at least 259 million people in its biometric database by 2022. These statistics are reported in a recent presentation from the agency’s Office of Procurement Operations and is reviewed by Quartz. 

In 2017, the agency forecasted to have data on 220 million unique identities by 2022. The recent presentation shows an increase in stats by 40 million unique identities. The presentation shared on October 30, at Homeland Security’s industry day includes a detailed summary of what the system currently contains. It also gives a detailed presentation of what the next few years will deliver.  

The agency is making a transition from a legacy system called IDENT to HART, a cloud-based system. HART which stands for Homeland Advanced Recognition Technology is hosted by Amazon Web Services. Homeland Security has the world’s second-largest biometrics database, behind only India’s countrywide biometric ID network in size. The department also shares its traveler data with other US agencies, state and local law enforcement as well as foreign entities. 

Multi factor Authentication is being defeated warns FBI

Multi-factor Authentication is being defeated’ warns FBI

For years, online businesses and organizations have been adopting various strategies and defense mechanisms to protect themselves from every kind of cyberattack. Cybercriminals are actively embracing technology to conduct sophisticated attacks online. This increasing trend of data breaches and digital frauds is a striking example of growing cyberattacks. Defending against these attacks has become a new normal for businesses worldwide.

One of the widely used methods to prevent these frauds is multi-factor authentication (2-Factor being the most common one). Although businesses and organizations are proactively using multi-factor authentication to protect their systems and data from perpetual business email compromise (BEC) attacks, the new warning from the FBI has surprised them unanimously.

According to the FBI, cyberattacks are circumventing multi-factor authentication through various social engineering tactics and technical attacks. In multi-factor authentication, the use of a secondary token or one-time generated code verifies and authenticates the identity of the user. But with the FBI’s new warning, businesses are quite bewildered. 

FBI Warning: The Surprise Factor?

 

The reason for this perplexity is that businesses have yet to come across such attacks on MFA. So far, such attacks have been rare to witness. 

Microsoft azure claims that multi-factor authentication blocks an unbelievable 99.9% of enterprise account hacks. Adopting this method is the least the organizations can do to protect their accounts as the rate of compromise of accounts is less than 0.1% for the companies that are using any type of MFA.

Even with the least compromise rate, the use of MFA is uncommon with less than 10% of the users per month (for enterprise accounts) – claims Microsoft. This statistic alone contradicts the FBI’s threat of MFA compromise, and businesses were not expecting it. However, the FBI states that the use of one-time codes and secondary tokens is not enough to back up the user and his credentials, nor is it sufficient to protect his identity.

How MFA is vulnerable to cyberattacks

 

Despite the endless struggle of businesses to protect the user’s information, by making account access harder and complex through two-factor and multi-factor authentication, it can still be vulnerable to breach. There is a high-risk that cybercriminals can attack and trick users into disclosing their credentials and authentication codes through social engineering. Or, they can create an account for themselves through the use of technical interception.

Phishing

 

Phishing attacks are a great example of social engineering. They can be used to lure victims into providing their credentials through a fake login page. Due to readily available technology and APIs, it is not difficult for criminals to create a fake login page. Attackers make use of different social engineering tricks (for example emails, fake job alerts, etc.) through which they tempt the users to click the link which is a clone of the original login page.

When the victims enter their credentials, the hackers fetch that information and pass it to the real login page, henceforth triggering the multi-factor authentication procedure. The victim is shown fake prompt requiring the texted or mailed code. Just like before, the hackers catch the code and complete the authentication process. 

This is not as easy as it seems. Hackers need to be fast enough due to the limited time-factor associated with the code. But once the process is successful, there’s nothing that can stop them from carrying out their activities.

Password Reset

 

Many times, the authentication process can be bypassed through the “Forgot Password” procedure, if a hacker is in possession of “something you have” item (for example, email). 

If the criminal/hacker has gained access to the victim’s email account where the verification link or code is sent, the attacker can easily use the “Reset Password” link and change the passwords to something else by following the instructions. Moreover, once he has access to the account, he can even change the recovery email and phone number, giving him complete access. 

Third-Party Logins

 

The explosion of online platforms has introduced a new authentication process for enhanced user-experience – through third-party logins. 

In this process, the user is offered an option to log in using third-party accounts and bypass the 2-factor authentication procedure. An example of such a case is “Login with your Facebook Account” or “Login with your Gmail Account”. In this case, an attacker can easily take over the accounts once they have access to your Gmail or Facebook credentials (through phishing and forget password procedures).

Brute Force Attacks

 

With the advancement of technology and automated tools, hackers have the opportunity to obtain user passwords and verification codes through brute force attacks. Through brute force, the attackers can gain limited-characters tokens. The tokens or verification codes are quite useless if the attackers get enough time to apply brute force and obtain the token. 

Advanced Tools and Techniques

 

On the one hand, technology has helped organizations in securing their digital presence, while on the other, it has also contributed to the innovation of advanced hacking tools.

In its investigation, the FBI has highlighted different examples of tools and techniques that are being used to defeat multi-factor authentication. It includes web hacks, cyberattack tools like NecroBrowser and Muraen, not to forget straightforward SIM swapping. The main issue with MFA is that organizations find it an ultimate solution for the security of the institution.

Solutions to Cyberattacks

 

While massive data breaches and identity theft are on the rise, multi-factor authentication is becoming the standard procedure for most of the organizations to secure themselves from attackers. 

No doubt, it is quite a secure method but hackers are now finding ways to get around MFA. While the risks are rare, the fact that a growing reliance on MFA can lead to growing attacks on MFA can’t be ignored.

FBI states that as per research 99% of the attacks are triggered by the person’s activities i.e. through clicking the link and falling victim to phishing scams as well as social engineering hacks. The most effective solution is to educate employees and consumers to recognize the phishing attacks so that they can try to avoid them.

Use of Biometrics

 

Use of Biometrics

 

The multi-factor authentication can be secured just by adding an extra layer of security i.e. Biometrics. 

The hackers can access something you know (credentials) and something you have (authentication codes) but they can’t access something you are (biometrics). Biometrics are the unique features of a person that can’t be stolen or changed. Incorporating biometric verification with 2-factor authentication can provide the most effective and secure authentication process.

Facial Recognition A Technology for Online Businesses to Prevent Fraud

Facial Recognition: A Technology for Online Businesses to Prevent Fraud

Today, biometric technology has traditionally established itself and has become an integral part of the security sector. Facial recognition among all biometrics is an active expansion at an industrial level. It is estimated that facial recognition technology will be generating a revenue of $9.6 billion by the end of 2020 along with the CAGR i.e. Compound Annual Growth Rate of 21.3%. In the IT industry, facial recognition technology is estimated to grow with a CAGR of 3.3% by 2020. With the increasing demand for AI-based technologies, facial recognition is more specifically contributing to security assistance and solutions.

The ability to visualize and recognize facial features is an imperative aspect of life. With the facial recognition technology, we can not only identify the faces we know but also can authenticate the ones we have never seen before to be aware of the possible perils. This technology is a complicated process that uses the knowledge that compares a number of faces to each other. Facebook, a social networking platform is using this technology to label people in the photographs, smartphones have an advance system of unlocking i.e. face unlock, banking and financial institutions are employing it to verify their onboarding customers in order to proceed them with the transaction, face recognition cameras are installed in the streets which police is using for mass surveillance to detect the criminals. Not only this, a large number of other industries are taking leverage of this intriguing technology. 

Facial Recognition: Future of Biometrics

Among all the common biometrics which include fingerprint scanning, iris, and retina scanning, hand geometry and patterns, facial recognition is a ground-breaking discovery that is leaving no stone unturned. It is covering a large number of industries with its innovative use-cases that were not even thought before. The lucrative opportunities of this technology admire the business owners to integrate it within their system to streamline them and robust the onboarding process. Not only businesses but consumers are also availing a better user experience as they now do not need to manually enter a huge set of information to prove their identity.

Online Industries Taking Advantage of Facial Scanning

Facial recognition technology is infancy innovation as compared to other biometric authentication mechanisms. The reason is the potentiality level of this technology that is providing incredible safety across a broad range of global verticals. Online businesses are taking leverage of this technology to bring in transparency into their systems and avoid the possible list of fraud.

Traditional Institutions

The traditional institutions which include banks, financial institutions, insurance, and investment companies need to ensure KYC and AML compliance at their end. Face recognition technology can facilitate the online portals and traditional systems to identify and verify their customers to fulfill Customer Due Diligence (CDD) requirements. Also, to vet the onboarding identities, IPO drives can streamline their online processes and can use this technology for investor verification. 

Financial institutions are the main target of online fraudsters where they exploit vulnerabilities in the system and perform malicious activities using fake identities. Face verification can help authenticate the user using supporting documents and evidence that are enough to verify a particular identity. Also, this will help eliminate the engagement of PEPs into the financial sectors. 

Digital Businesses

The global regulatory authorities are imposing strict regulations for digital businesses to tighten their KYC and AML compliances within the business. For this, all businesses are obliged to comply with the local regulators to fulfill diligence duties by scrutinizing the traders, freelancers, end-users, customers, etc. through digital identity verification. Online forex brokers, financial stock traders, digital banking, FinTech, and the freelance marketplace can utilize facial recognition technology for user verification. Facial scanning is a real-time solution for the online identities for identification and verification of facial features in seconds. This facilitates not only the digital businesses but online customers while providing them a streamlined user experience.

E-commerce

The online marketplace has a high risk of online fraud and payment scams. The online marketplace includes online stores and brands that sell goods online and have different payment methods. Scammers find out and the loopholes and try to fraud the system in one way or the other. 

Online payment facilitators can utilize embedded digital facial biometric technology to combat payment fraud. When the customer proceeds to payment or cart items, through online face verification, the identity will be verified in real-time against the picture on id card or any similar supported document. This will help reduce the likelihood of a fraudulent transaction.

Another use-case of facial recognition technology in e-commerce is the age verification of the under-age community to refrain them buy age-restricted online goods. This can be done by examining the facial features through innovative technology and providing the status of accepted or rejected. In this way, a business can prevent itself from the risk of heavy fines and reputational damage.

Travel and Hospitality

The inclination of the travel industry to online identity verification is rising rapidly. Air and sea travel companies are using digital ways to verify customers while providing them streamline customer onboarding experience. Not only this, for online hotel bookings and accommodation, online face verification can help in verifying the customers easily.

This is a supreme solution for both consumers and businesses that help them cater to large traffic of passengers easily. In the travel industry, there are high chances of fake identities and identity theft cases, to prevent a business from such scammers, face verification can help reduce the risks of identity fraud by authenticating the identity particulars while online bookings and confirmations.

Health and Medicare

In the healthcare industry, hospitals, and medical insurance companies, identity verification holds crucial importance. The threats of false insurance claims and false identities should be catered digitally to avoid fraudulent identities from ruining the online systems and stealing the identities of patients. 

Healthcare professionals tend to spend energy and time to manage the patient’s records, access them and retrieve them, facial recognition has covered it efficiently. That valuable time can be spent to deal with emergency situations. Keeping sensitive data of patients is a crucial task that can be done through biometric face verification. Hospitals can identify the patients through facial recognition and can verify against the picture on the hospital supported documents. In this way, no fake identities can fraud and avail hospital services. 

Entertainment

Social networking and gaming industries can introduce transparency into their system using facial recognition technology. Age sensitive gaming and social media platforms can verify the age of the user by verifying the facial patterns and features of each onboarding customer. No under-age community could be able to enter into the network which is age-restricted and the identity will be authenticated at the time of registration.

Recruitment Companies

For the online verification of employ with past experience and education credentials, facial recognition technology can be used. A user can upload a live picture that can be then verified against the provided documents to authenticate the true identity. Also, for remote hiring, employ can be easily authenticated. This is highly beneficial for companies that lack the electronic signature capability and find traditional email not enough for recruitment purposes.

In the education sector, schools and colleges can adopt facial recognition technology to keep track of the records of their students. This would be easy to manage, process and retrieve the student data i.e. health record, academic record, personal identity, etc. in an efficient manner.

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