Are Biometrics Set to Replace Traditional Password Authentication?

19 Apr 2022 by Mike Allen

The inception of computer password in 1960 by Fernando Corbató was a technological fete in its own right. With the ever-increasing security threats, businesses are looking for new and innovative authentication methods. Consumers demand quick, secure, and convenient processes. Biometric authentication can fulfill all three requirements. It can help businesses increase convenience and secure payments and logins. Can biometrics replace password authentication?

What is biometric authentication?

Biometric authentication is an identity confirmation process that compares data for the cardholder's characteristics to their biometric data. First, the physical and behavioral factors of the cardholder are captured and stored. A Biometric system uses this data to authenticate the cardholder.

Password authentication relies on knowledge, what the user knows, and ownership, something the user has, such as a card or device. On the other hand, biometric authentication uses inherence, the users’ physical and behavioral attributes. Physiological factors include fingerprints, facial features, and iris patterns, while behavioral factors refer to keystroke dynamics, voice characteristics, or cursor movements.

Why Biometric Authentication Could Replace Traditional Passwords

Although the password is still the most popular authentication method, more businesses are adopting biometrics. Users switch from old to new technologies to minimize the disadvantages or maximize the benefits. This human nature explains why biometrics are replacing traditional passwords and PINs.

Security

Password authentication requires users to create, remember, save, share, and recreate their passwords regularly. These processes increase the risk of theft on transit or through phishing. Remember, passwords must be kept secret to be effective. Yet, employees share passwords for shared resources such as printers. This authentication method also exposes individuals to security risks. For example, anyone with a credit card and password can withdraw cash or go shopping. Biometric authentication addresses all these shortfalls. Unlike passwords, no one can steal, buy, share, or sell the user’s fingerprints, iris, facial features, or voice. More businesses are replacing passwords with fingerprint recognition because each fingerprint is unique and remains unchanged for a lifetime. Biometric authentication provides a more secure alternative to traditional passwords. 

Convenience

Today, businesses and consumers use multiple devices, accounts, and platforms. Most people cannot remember several passwords. But using the same password across all your apps increases vulnerabilities. Biometric authentication doesn’t require users to remember, check, or save anything. Using physical or behavioral attributes for authentication eliminates human error from the equation. Also, users cannot misplace their faces, voices, or fingerprints. Biometrics is more convenient than passwords.

Future-proof

App and device security solutions such as multifactor authentication (MFA) and public key infrastructure (PKI) increasingly rely on biometrics instead of passwords. Advances in AI, sensor technology, and IoT will enable seamless biometric authentication. Unlike passwords, biometrics caters to current and future security needs in business. It evolves and improves with new and emerging technologies. Biometric authentication is future-proof.

User-friendly

Empowering employees through technology is crucial for success in today’s digital age. Biometric is flexible enough to support the needs of all employees. Facial biometrics don't require additional actions to authenticate users, ideal for employees with disabilities. The visually impaired can benefit from behavioral biometrics. For example, voice verification only requires the user to repeat a word or a short sentence. Unlike passwords, you can customize biometrics to end-user or employee needs.

Bottom Line 

Biometric authentication is a secure, convenient, and future-proof alternative to passwords. It is a user-friendly solution that can empower all end-users. More businesses are adopting biometrics to exploit its benefits and avoid inherently vulnerable passwords. Biometric is replacing traditional password authentication.

Author

Mike Allen

With decades of engineering expertise, Mike brings extensive experience driving growth and turning vision into deliverables. He has excellent analytical, team leadership, and management skills along with a track record of knowing when to move forward and when to pivot.

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