Cybersafety Connections May 2021 Vol#16

Be in The Know

  • Biometric Authentication 
  • Advantages of Biometric Authentication 
  • Privacy Issues, False Rejections and False Acceptances, Fraud Risk and use Cases 

Consumers and businesses have always been familiar with the use of passwords for authentication. This confidence in the use of passwords is becoming weaker with the embrace of digital life that was accelerated with COVID-19 and work from home. The shift is towards Biometric authentication as a strong alternative to password seeing that confidence in passwords decreased 10% in 2020. 1

Microsoft 365 Stock Images

Biometric means using your biological and behavioral characteristics as a metric to authenticate you. Biological can be a photo of your face, fingerprint, hand, iris, and DNA while behavioral can be a keystroke, signature, or a record of your voice. 


Biometrics is universal in all humans, unique, permanent except plastic surgery?, recordable with or without consent, and measurable for future comparison.

Biometric can be multimodal that is two of the metrics can be used together to improve security and accuracy. At least your face, voice, or fingerprint cannot be stolen off you. Biometrics can also enhance multi-factor authentication(MFA).

Privacy Issues 

Of course biometrics is not without privacy risk. Once the biometric data gets into the hands of a third party it could be used by service providers or fraudsters for purposes other than that for which consent was obtained. The same information collected can be intercepted and fraudulently copied and re-used.

False Rejections or False acceptances

Because biometric authentication depends upon a statistical algorithm, it cannot be 100% accurate when used alone. The use of AI is making the algorithm more accurate.

Besides privacy issues, there are cases where the machine fails to recognize items of biometric data that match the person. Talk about false rejection. If you dye or cut your hair or get dental work done with a swollen face, the biometric machine may not recognize you! On the other hand, is the case where the machine accepts items of biometric data that is not from the same person which is false acceptance.2

Fraud Risk 

When fraudsters compromise your passwords, biometrics authentication can prevent them from doing more damage and causing loss. Businesses can employ biometrics across their digital platforms to authenticate consumers and transactions to reduce fraud risk thereby making consumers more confident in the use of biometrics for authentication. 

Case Uses 

Biometric authentication has applications in various fields like law enforcement and public security, military, border, travel and migration control, civil identification, healthcare and subsidies, physical and logical application, and commercial application. 

For more information, read the full articles in the hyperlinks below.


2.Biometrics: definition, use cases and latest news 

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