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.”

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Your Biometrics May Become Your Password

  1. Karon,

    Awesome post, lives up to your the title of the page on your blog (intriguing). Have you seen the movie “I Origins?” It’s about the idea, that a molecular biologist’s study of the human eye has far-reaching implications about humanity’s scientific and spiritual beliefs. Biometrics sign-on and identification creates an interesting new field for data processors. You’d have or create a hybrid engineer, dna scientist meets, data cruncher — there would be no answers like 0 or 1, anymore, but rather, has a pulse or doesn’t, increases heart rate or doesn’t, etc…DNA xyz needs this or that…data becomes way more personal in the future.
    N

    Like

  2. As technology evolves, so does the ability to use it for nefarious purposes. I am not surprised by what you wrote, but I am saddened. The reality is that no matter what the next great step in security, there will also be a new way to subvert it.

    It makes me wonder if the old ‘bury your money in the back yard’ ideology of the generations before mine who went through the great depression shouldn’t make a comeback.

    Like

  3. Really cool but somewhat scary. I started a new job at a community college a month ago and they require you get finger printed. I couldn’t help but think at least I am not a criminal because there is no way to fake this.

    Like

    1. Its pretty common that if you work for a government organization, school, etc, that fingerprinting and even FBI background investigations are part of the process. Are fingerprints or finger scanning part of the security clearance at the school? That would be interesting.

      Like

  4. I’m still amazed that fingerprint scanners, or whatever else is available, haven’t become more widespread at this point. Maybe I don’t fully understand the foundation of the security system enough, but that certainly seems like a much better way to allow people to access their information than creating our own passwords. I’d imagine a fingerprint scan is harder to “copy” than figuring out someone’s birthday and the name of their cat. Interesting write-up. I’m curious to see which of all these technologies becomes the “main stream” solution.

    Like

  5. Hi Karon,
    Thanks for the interesting and informative post! I agree that biometrics will become a part of our security password in the coming years. Biometrics are certainly being used today for a number of things.

    About 10 years ago I visited Disney World with my family. At the time, Disney had not yet implemented the Magic Band system to enter the park. Instead, you used a ticket and provided the park with your fingerprint. Well, not so much your fingerprint, but rather a biometric measurement based off of different points on your finger. Disney converts the measurements it takes to code, so as not to violate your identity (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-nirenberg/no-security-mickey-mousep_b_4987896.html). I can’t help but wonder why the company needs all of this information. While they claim to destroy the data after 30 days, what does Disney use it for in that 30-day period of time?

    Danielle

    Like

    1. Thanks for sharing your Disney story. I had no idea. I’m not a theme park kind of person so haven’t experienced this but the idea of it makes me a little uncomfortable. Since they are not capturing fingerprints, I feel a little better about it though. My guess is that the 30 day period would allow a person a return visit. I also believe that we will probably see more of this type of id system being used in the future and at other types of locations, museums, football stadiums, ski resorts, etc.

      Like

  6. Karen,

    Your post actually made me see the bad side of biometrics. I am normally all for new innovations in technology, especially when it comes to making our lives easier (a eyeball scan instead of typing a password.

    But you’re right, if someone got ahold of your biometric “password” they would have it for life. It’s like someone getting your social security number, but worse.

    In my opinion, this will be the biggest hurdle to overcome before biometric passwords can really begin real use.

    Have a great weekend,

    Teresa

    Like

    1. Thanks for your comment Teresa. I’m also all for new technology but there is always risk with something new. Unfortunately, the biometrics poses a unique risk to very personal data hacking. You can’t just log in and change your heartbeat. Or, maybe someday, you can.

      Like

  7. My problem with biometric “passwords” is that once your retina or fingerprint or anything else gets converted to ones and zeroes, it can be hacked. People talk about the high level of security these methods provide but I think it’s just another way for hackers to gain access to our data. What makes this scarier than a traditional password is that it might be perceived that this security is somehow special. Imagine for a moment that a person goes in and swaps the ones and zeroes that are your fingerprint for the ones and zeroes that define a murderer. You’ll need to convince a court that it wasn’t you.

    Like

    1. Thanks for your response. Great point. I hadn’t seen it as the conversion to the ones and zeros but that makes a clearer picture for me. Most people would think that the biometrics is more secure in some way as a unique identifier. I agree with you, that it is more problematic if it is actually hacked.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s