Biometrics and Cybersecurity



Biometrics and Cybersecurity- Biometrics is a critical component of cybersecurity. Technology improves the quality of life, but it also introduces new problems and obstacles. As a result, security becomes a top priority. Cybersecurity refers to the protection of cyberspace from identity theft, data theft, and even the theft of computer resources. Hackers are constantly changing. As technology evolves, they take use of new tools and talents to create security systems, rendering passwords ineffective as a safeguard.

Because of these factors, biometric security is quickly becoming the preferred method of protecting cyberspace from hackers and other dangerous individuals among businesses, organisations, and individuals. Face recognition, fingerprint scanners, and iris scans have all become commonplace thanks to tech titans like Apple Inc.

Technology plays an important role in combating cybercrime, but it also comes with risks. The following are the two main challenges that businesses and individuals must be aware of in order to fully benefit from biometric security and preserve the digital information they possess:

  • Individuals and organisations must realise that they are not immune to attacks. Cybercriminals can still use facial recognition and fingerprinting to spoof or steal biometric data.
  • Financial institutions and hospitals, for example, that retain particularly sensitive third-party data, should be aware of the security implications of a data breach and their potential liabilities in the event of one.

Advanced biometrics are utilised to give an extra layer of security for sensitive papers. Citibank, for example, already uses speech recognition to identify customers. Halifax, a British bank, is also working on devices that detect heartbeat as a way to authenticate customers’ identities.

Ford, for example, is adding biometric sensors into their vehicles to improve security. The technology performs more than one check on the driver. Instead, it examines users’ activity in real time to determine whether or not they are signed on to the digital platform throughout the entire session.

Is Biometrics Cybersecurity indicating a New Age in Cybersecurity?

Yes, it appears to be the case. And there’s no denying that the technology would vastly boost cybersecurity infrastructure. Hackers will find it more difficult to get remote access to systems using these approaches. Even with passwords in hand, hackers require a variety of biometric scans to gain access to a network. The technology was created with the goal of being a one-stop shop. Can it, however, provide complete data protection on its own? Let’s have a look at it.

Is Biometrics cybersecurity sufficient on its own?

Anyone who has seen a spy movie knows that ace hackers can easily deceive these devices. If you choose face recognition as your biometric protection of choice, a highly skilled hacker might hypothetically enter your system using a high-quality snapshot of you facing the camera.



The point is that if someone is desperate to hack your system, they will go to any length. So, while biometric security is a step in the right direction, it should be used as an additional layer of security rather than a stand-alone method.

Functionalities of a Biometric System

Biometrics isn’t just a fascinating topic to research and learn about. If used correctly, it can be a tremendously enabling technology. Through the following three essential features, technology may be used to prevent cybercrime, provide user-friendly machines, and create a safer society.

Assessment: Is this actually Legit Joe? The technique may verify a claimed enrollment authentication with high certainty based on biometric data stored in the servers. Consider the case where someone claims to be Legit Joe and provides their fingerprint to the authentication system. The system matches the provided fingerprint to the one on file and associates the claimed identity with it. If the two match, the person is given permission. If they disagree, the person is denied entry. 2.Identification – this simply entails determining whether or not the individual is in the database. The database could contain millions of enrolled identities. The system compares the biometric data provided with what is saved to see if there is a match. Criminal investigation, parenthood determination, welfare payout, voter identification cards, identification of missing children, border control, and other common identification applications are only a few examples. 3.Screening – determining whether or not someone is on a watchlist. Screening services, for example, can be used to provide security at public rallies, airport security, and other monitoring activities.

Different types of Approaches to Biometrics

Biometric technologies rely on a variety of bodily traits, some of which are more secure than others. We’ll now take a look at some of these solutions that focus on recognising the physical characteristics listed below:

  • Iris design
  • Voice
  • Fingerprints
  • Vein patterns
  • Facial structure
  • Typing behaviour

The list does not include all of the physical qualities that are utilised to better understand the technology. You’ll note, for example, that retinal scans aren’t covered. However, as we look at some of the drawbacks that the technologies listed face, we may apply the same concept that is missing from the list.

So how does the technology work?

Biometric security is a step-by-step process that begins with enrollment, then moves on to storage, management, scanning, and verification of the data provided, and lastly, object integration. The steps are outlined below;

Step 1: the first stage is the enrollment stage, where an administrator supervises the collection of one or more biological characteristics. This is accomplished via a sensor that is linked to the biometrics enrollment app.

Step 2: A reference template is created by the enrolling application.

Step 3: After that, the template is linked to a user’s identity and saved in a database.



If an employee works for a certain company, they will be required to supply the unique characteristics obtained during enrollment in order to start working.

Evaluating Biometrics

Biometrics come in a variety of forms, each with its own set of characteristics. Every technique has its own set of benefits and drawbacks, necessitating careful consideration when choosing a solution for specific access control. So, before we look at the biometrics technologies listed above, let’s take a look at some of the challenges that have been encountered while implementing these solutions, such as:

• Enrollment risks

• Business continuity

• Forgery

• Datastore contamination

• Accuracy

Enrollment risks

The enrollment procedure is delicate, and there is a risk of human error or mistakes caused by insufficient vendor solutions. Remember that the acquired qualities are saved as a reference template in a database. As a result, if the reference template is flawed in any way, the same problem is reflected at login time, resulting in time waste and, in the worst-case scenario, denial of access for the correct identity. This illustrates how sensitive information is at the time of input, and how a single mistake can result in a system failure.

Business continuity

Consider a company that runs on a single Active Directory domain controller. This means that if the domain controller fails, no one will be able to authenticate, and business operations will have to come to a halt.

Forgery

When compared to other bodily parts, some can be easily forged. When opposed to creating vein scans, getting a fingerprint imprint that flawlessly works for various fingerprint identification systems is very simple.

Datastore contamination

The context in which the reference templates function, how the programme accesses them, and other attack surface considerations determine the degree of risk of cybercriminals contaminating or replacing the store templates after they have been saved in the database. Let’s say the reference templates end up in the wrong hands. They can be used to compromise systems in a variety of ways, such as employing templates to obtain access to the system or constructing many forgeries of the measured properties.

Accuracy

Engineering flaws in the manufacturing of the necessary sensors are the most common cause of accuracy issues. The false rejection rate and the false acceptance rate are two approaches to measure sensor errors. A false rejection error occurs when a properly enrolled user is scanned and the biometrics system fails. On the other side, a false acceptance mistake occurs when a biometric system confirms a person who has not completed the enrollment procedure.

Selecting the right Approach to Biometric Solution

We’ll look at various biometric technologies in the next section of the article. Because no single technology can meet all access control concerns, each solution must have both advantages and disadvantages.

Fingerprint Recognition

When most people think of biometrics, the first thing that comes to mind is a finger scan. For example, to gain entrance to my school library, I place one of my index fingers on a fingerprint sensor and enter my phone number. Several companies use fingerprint scanners to track their employees’ working hours and keep track of when they clock in and out. Although it is widely used, it has weaknesses and can be circumvented by skilled hackers, thus it is not always the best option.

What is the mechanism behind it?

When you scan your finger, the sensor detects specific properties, such as the one depicted below. Using an algorithm, the scanned data is converted to data known as the trial template.

Advantages

  • There are several options available.
  • When compared to other biometric technologies, it is less expensive to install.

Disadvantages

  • It is extremely vulnerable to environmental factors.
  • Forging is simple.

Facial Recognition

To enforce security, the system employs an image of the user’s face.

How does it work?

An algorithm is used by the technology to recognise a face in a camera image. There are databases with various face forms that can be used to distinguish the human face from other body parts in a camera’s perspective.

Among the different nodal points utilised to uniquely identify a user’s face are:

  • The contours of the cheekbones
  • Length of jawline
  • Breadth of the nose
  • Dimensions of the eye sockets.

Advantages

  • Forging is difficult.
  • In comparison to contact-based approaches, this is a more acceptable approach.
  • Fast and relatively inexpensive compared to options that require a separate sensor

Disadvantages

The illumination in the surroundings has a significant impact.
Due to ethnic variances, there is a high risk of mistake.



Iris Recognition

Iris scanning is the most effective method for ensuring high levels of accuracy and low counterfeit rates.

How does it work?

By projecting light into the back of the eye, the gadget can read retina patterns. Like previous biometric technologies, the acquired data is subsequently transformed into a reference template for verification.

Vein Recognition

A complicated network of veins runs beneath our hands. Each person has a distinct pattern that can be used to identify them digitally. Infrared waves can be used to capture the pattern, which can subsequently be saved as reference templates for biometric access control. Below is an illustration of a vein scanner.

Fujitsu was the first to develop the technology, which was intended to be a contactless recognition system. It is based on deoxidized haemoglobin, which is a property of blood in veins. Because the bodily cells have already absorbed the oxygen in the blood, it is not delivered back to the lungs. When subjected to near-infrared light waves, deoxidized haemoglobin appears black. Deoxidized’s capacity to absorb such waves and alter colour makes it simple to recognise distinct vein patterns, which can then be captured, saved as a reference template, and finally used as biometric access control. Near-infrared radiation are used to extract blood vein patterns.

Advantages

  • A vein scan, like iris recognition, does not necessitate physical contact with the sensor.
  • The extremely low rate of mistake
  • Forging is nearly difficult.

Disadvantages

  • Because this is a novel technology that is still evolving, there is no objective standard for it.

Voice and Typing

Unlike the biometric technologies listed above that are used to improve cybersecurity, speech recognition and keystroke dynamics are far less popular and have yet to acquire general adoption.

Voice recognition

Users can quickly adopt voice recognition, but fraudsters can easily counterfeit it. Algorithms are used to create reference templates from voiceprints. It is less accurate than other methods and is vulnerable to identity theft due to recording devices. When a user has to speak into a microphone, voice recognition works well for mobile-based authentication, but it has a few flaws. As a result, environmental factors like as background noise have a significant impact on voice authentication, making it unsuitable for use in cubicle-dense locations.

Keystroke dynamics

Individual types can be utilised to determine how quickly or slowly a person can be identified. The technology is simple to integrate into a commercial structure, although it is not particularly accurate. The method does not necessitate the use of any external devices, and enrollment happens automatically as the user goes about their daily tasks on a computer. Keystroke dynamic is the technique to use if you want a biometric process that is less expensive, adds a second layer to multi-factor authentication, and is simple to deploy.

Final thoughts

Technology is rapidly advancing, resulting in new attack vectors and attack surfaces. For freshly created dangers, new defence mechanisms bring improvements and security. Cybercriminals, on the other hand, take advantage of new technologies by employing increasingly advanced techniques such as deep learning to mimic the voice in order to circumvent voice recognition.

Because a determined hacker will still find a way around the system, biometrics cannot be utilised as a stand-alone strategy to protect cyberspace equipment. As a result, biometric security technology should be utilised in conjunction with multi-factor authentication.

Jennifer Thomas
Jennifer Thomas is the Co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer at Cybers Guards. Prior to that, She was responsible for leading its Cyber Security Practice and Cyber Security Operations Center, which provided managed security services.