Your Biometrics May Become Your Password

As technology advances, and with each new development, data security is lagging behind. In the not too distant future, biometrics will be at least in part, your new password. We’ve all seen fingerprint and retina scans in movies like Minority Report but technological advances have allowed more internal biometric data to be collected and identified as unique characteristics that can be considered a passcode to each individual. “Cardiac rhythms, finger veins and other internal biological signatures hold a wealth of differentiating features that may someday replace passwords and fingerprints.  AT&T has created a system to send an electro-acoustic signal through bone or skin to produce a “body signature,” then compare it to a database of signatures to grant or block access.”

“Since 9/11, the amount of biometrics collected in the United States has increased exponentially,” says Jennifer Lynch, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation.”

“While current regulations lag behind technology, researchers are feverishly working to address people’s concerns—namely, what happens if a database holding your biometrics gets hacked? You can reset a password, but you can’t replace your fingertips or eyeballs.”

The Culprit May Be You! Mobile Madness!

Social media sites like Facebook have shown that people are willing to share incredibly personal information. Is it different when you choose to share with “friends” than when your information is gathered without your complete knowledge and agreement? How do you know your data is safe?

According to a 2015 survey by Lookout, our perception of our mobile privacy is quite different from the reality and those that have a higher belief in thinking they understand mobile privacy, specifically, Millennials, are represented well in this graphic.

MobilePerceptionRisk

Consumers are willing to share personal information in exchange for a benefit.  Those apps you downloaded collect your data and use it to target and track you perhaps through a low frequency bluetooth connection and iBeacon technology. What other data are you unknowingly giving away?

“iBeacon is the name for Apple’s technology standard, which allows Mobile Apps (running on both iOS and Android devices) to listen for signals from beacons in the physical world and react accordingly. In essence, iBeacon technology allows Mobile Apps to understand their position on a micro-local scale, and deliver hyper-contextual content to users based on location.”

So you got a push notification of a sale at the store you just walked by in the mall.  Great!  Shop till you drop!  But do you know what you are giving up for that deal?  Who’s got your data?

Wearable Technology and the Benefit Trade Off. Who Wins?

Are consumers unknowingly giving away their personal data? How safe are you?

Wearable technologies like health bands, glasses,  and clothing, capture detailed information about an individual including personal health, location, and daily routines. Security risks are not just limited to identity theft or fraud but physical threats including stalking and more. According to Symantec, “all of the wearable activity-tracking devices examined, including those from leading brands, are vulnerable to location tracking.”

What is the trade off of benefit to risk with wearable technology and the Internet of Things? With the IoT and the potential for the volumes of data that will be gathered in the future, as consumers, we may choose the benefit without knowing the risk.

Who owns your collected data? Can insurance companies access your FitBit collected data and charge you a higher premium because of it? Did you know that each person has a unique heartbeat and the future of data security may include heartbeat biometrics? If your wearable technology is tracking your heart rate, can that data be captured for biometric security hacking? “Cardiac rhythms, finger veins and other internal biological signatures hold a wealth of differentiating features that may someday replace passwords and fingerprints.”

WearableGlassesTechnologyIn a 2014 article on ComputerWorld.com, the future of facial recognition software combined with technology based glasses presents a whole new set of privacy issues. “FacialNetwork.com’s recently released NameTag application for instance, will let “a user can simply glance at someone nearby and instantly see that person’s name, occupation and even visit their Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles in real-time,” according to the company.”

Perhaps we’ll all start wearing masks as a security measure.  I can’t wait!

How Kids Get Their Kik’s

Kik Interactive was developed by students at Waterloo University in 2008.  In 2010, Kik Messenger app was developed and has since become the mobile chat app of choice for 40% of US teenagers (according to the company) contains an entire version of the internet inside its virtual borders.
Anonymity is the culprit behind the dangers linked to the Kik Messenger app.  Although financially valuable to Kik, which has been valued at $1bn, it is something that parents need to learn about ASAP.
Cyber security is a huge concern for parents and with the ongoing development in mobile applications, parents should be concerned. Mobile apps and chatbots are trending because of the move to mobile for more of our internet communications. Chatbots are software that replace multiple applications so that a person can find everything from the weather, to games to music.  There’s no need to go anywhere else.
The future of Chatbots could create a smartbot personal assistant for each of us inside our phones. Great for adults but for kids, this creates a space where they are vulnerable to the ugliness of the world.
According to an article in the New York Times, “law enforcement officials say it (Kik) has been linked to a growing number of abuse cases” and is linked to the death and murder of a 13 year old Virginia girl. “Kik is the problem app of the moment,” said David Frattare, commander of the Ohio Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.”