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When Will Biometrics Replace Passwords?

December 29, 2016

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2016 was a strong year of growth for biometric solutions in the consumer market, with fingerprint scanning on smartphones devices becoming effectively mainstream. So, the inevitable question is, how long will it be until biometrics can completely overtake and replace passwords?


Password replacement some way off

A report by Yole Development has suggested that, despite huge growth in the market, it actually won’t be until 2030 that we start to see multi-modal biometrics replace password solutions at a significant level. In fact, Yole says that fingerprints, or any other form of biometric, will not be able to replace passwords on their own.

In its report, Yole says fingerprint technology has driven 91 per cent of the $4.45 billion global revenue for biometric hardware. That’s largely in the consumer facing market where smartphones are driving the adoption. Remarkably, the consumer market now makes up 65 per cent of global revenue for biometrics – as little as six years ago, that figure was as low as 10 per cent.

Despite this impressive growth, fingerprints on their own cannot replace passwords entirely because of one simple fact; there is estimated to be around 2 per cent of the population that have fingerprints that are too faint to scan, and the solution is not always suitable for those with disabilities.

Multi-factor security

Fingerprint biometrics must always have a fall-back option, like a pin or password. That really is no bad thing, and using the two together can make for stronger security solutions. That’s what we offer here at BioStore: plenty of options for multi-factor authentication to fit each organisation’s needs.

This multi-factor approach can ensure great security, because we all know far too well the shortfalls of purely password-based systems – they have been proven time and time again to be the main source of vulnerability in security solutions.

And while a password is a good choice in a multi-factor authentication system, there’s also the option of using another form of biometric as a back-up option – like voice or facial recognition, iris scan, or palm vein reading.

The cost of facial recognition is coming down the quickest out of those options, with the others still too expensive. That’s why, multi-modal biometric solutions are still some way off, and passwords for now will remain part of most security systems. Used responsibly and combined in the right way with biometrics, that is no particularly bad thing.

EE times: Biometrics Won’t Kill Passwords

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