Is the rise of biometric security a good thing?

Whether we like it or not, it seems that biometric security is rapidly becoming the norm.

In March alone, Samsung unveiled new iris scanning technology, Microsoft announced facial recognition for Windows 10, Asus introduced fingerprint scanning and Qualcomm, Fujitsu and Intel all jumped in with biometric tools of their own.

Why are we seeing such rapid adoption?

Although it may still seem futuristic, modern biometric security has been around for a number of years. You could argue though that it was only with the launch of the iPhone 5S and its fingerprint scanner that people really started to take notice.

Now, fuelled by convenience, biometric security is at the forefront of our minds. After all, why remember a password or have to input a code when your device can simply scan you and authorize access?

Is it secure?

While few people can argue that biometric security is not convenient, there are still question marks over its viability as a robust security measure.

SRI, who developed Samsung’s iris scanning technology claim that “tests have shown this purely iris-based solution to be more than 1,000 times more accurate than published fingerprint data.” This begs the question, how secure is fingerprint data?

Not all that secure it turns out. In October 2014, a hacker known as Starbug accurately replicated the fingerprint of the German Minister of Defense from nothing other than hi-res images taken of her at an event.

More recently, researcher at AVG’s Innovation Lab in Amsterdam developed a set of ‘Invisibility Glasses’ that used specialist materials and technology to successfully counteract facial recognition technology.

Security company AVG has written many times before about the pros and cons of biometric security, from speculating on the future to busting myths.

However for now, it’s clear that if biometric security is really going to become our de-facto method of authentication, we need to make sure it is rigorously tested.

This blog first appeared on AVG Now.

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