Top 5 Risks of Biometrics Security

Last Updated: February 3, 2021

In recent times, security has generally been a re-emerging issue. People face a lot of security challenges in protecting their devices, files, packages, and so on. In cyberspace, security stands against various forms of victimization by restricting unauthorized access.

The use of traditional passwords and pins have proven to be easily compromised because snoops might easily retrieve the entry keys. With just one peep over your shoulder, the safety of your valuables might be compromised. This is one of the factors that birthed the evolution of Biometrics.

Biometrics security offers an advanced layer of protection to personal and organizational systems. The exclusive nature of some features of the human body plays a vital role in the progression of this form of security. However, biometrics security is not perfect, and it has its risks. This article extensively discusses what biometrics is and the risks associated with using biometrics to secure systems.

What is Biometrics Security?

Biometrics are biological specifications and measurements. The biology of humans is known to be very qualitative, but on the other hand, metrics, known as measurements, are quantitative. Biometrics security creates security systems using human body features. These attempts have resulted in systems that make use of finger & thumbprints, retina scanners, voice recognition systems, etc.

There are a good number of biometrics security markers, and they are categorized into three major groups. This classification is based on how the markers are applied to implement security. Thus, they are grouped into biological, morphological, and behavioral biometrics.

1. Biological Biometrics 

This set of biometrics use a physiological and anatomical approach.

Biological biometrics include DNA, blood (group, type, or composition), and heartbeat. Those features are not ones to be learned and are virtually impossible to alter. Extreme measures might have to be taken, which can include genetic engineering or surgery.

Biological biometrics is what is IN, and it is technically the most reliable of the three groups.

2. Morphological Biometrics

This is the use of physical body traits to access secured content.

It implements the use of body features like fingerprint, palmprint, hand geometry, and face. For an impostor to use morphological traits to unlock security, measures that will inflict harmful consequences on the owner might have to be taken. The owner might have to be kidnapped or even have his finger or hand cut off and preserved. Pictures and video might also be able to unlock facial recognition security.

Morphological biometrics is what is ON and is also reliable to a reasonable extent.

3. Behavioral Biometrics

This group of biometrics use patterns of actions.

Characteristic features like gait (walking), signature or writing pattern, voice, gestures, typing pattern, and even IP addresses are categorized as behavioral biometrics. This form of biometrics is not always stable because a person’s voice, for example, might change at some point in time. Also, those habits can be tracked and copied by another person. 

Behavioral biometrics is what you DO, and it’s not as reliable as the other two.

5 Major Risks of Biometrics Security

Many seem to think that biometrics security is more secure than using passwords and pins because the markers (fingerprint, palmprint, retina, DNA, amongst others) are incredibly unique to individual users.

However, despite the goodies that come with biometrics, it still has some very troubling faults that pose vibrant threats to the integrity of security. Any individual or organization looking to implement biometrics must weigh the risks before going along with it.

1. Faulted Data Collection

The very first step in guaranteeing security with biometrics is the collection of respective data. The corresponding part of the body will be scanned for registration (face for facial recognition). Inaccurate or incorrect biometric data capturing will eventually birth authentication problems, and this raises huge concerns.

The conditions under which some biometric data is collected should be carefully noted. If a recipient was sick and lost his voice just before capturing, he literally has to lose his voice again to gain access to the system later. So it is also essential that data is collected under healthy conditions since biometrics deal with the body.

If a fraudulent person is in charge of collecting biometric data, they may replace the collected data with theirs, thereby maring the process. On the other hand, where machines do the data collection, workers at the organization might still have access to it and alter it to suit their needs.

2. Changed Biometric Features

Collected biometric data is constant. For you to unlock a secured system with your biometrics, the registered information has to match the one you’re scanning at the moment. As humans, our bodies change regularly, so getting access to our secured data might be hindered.

For cases of biological biometrics, if a genetic mutation (change in cell structure) occurs in an individual after capturing, the biological feature used will not be able to unlock the system, and the person might lose access to his valuables for life.

If you registered your beardless face, the facial recognition system would not give you access when you present a bearded face. So, body physiology must be maintained to a reasonably high level when the recipient is trying to unlock the system after capturing. 

3. Compromised Security of Stored Data

Even though your biometrics is supposed to protect your data, a system, or valuables, your biometric data is to be protected too. The security of your device or money does not only depend on your biometrics but also depends on the continued security of your biometrics data.

If care is not taken, the system keeping your biometric data might get compromised. If that happens, your security has been breached indirectly. The increasing number of hack threats and data breaches points out that most organizations do not have robust security features to withstand sophisticated attacks.

If hackers get a hold of your biometric data, the consequences might be terrible. They can get access to your online accounts without your consent and even frame you for something you didn’t do. In that case, be aware of the security risk that comes with securing your data with biometrics.

4. Open to Manipulative Fraud

Even though body features are peculiar, biometrics security is not entirely foolproof. Past events have shown that gum-mimicked finger and palm prints can bypass some sensors. Pictures, videos, and 3D images particularly could deceive some face recognition systems. That, in its sense, puts a lot of compromise on the security of private data.

Also, family members and doppelgangers (lookalikes) with similar morphological and behavioral features can get access to private data through the supposedly “secure” system. That doesn’t run a good spell for data privacy and integrity.

5. Inconsistency and Rigidity

Inconsistent sensor structures is another privacy issue with biometrics security. During registration and capturing, there is a huge possibility that the biometrics scanning facilities are of a high standard because it’s inside the organization. For subsequent scans to access private data on a different device or at smaller branches of the organization, the authorized user might experience denial and false identification. That denial faults the inferior sensor to the one used to register the biometrics.

Furthermore, if you lose a password or pin, you can always retrieve it by various means. The same can’t be said for biometric data. Once the data or the body is compromised, it is gone. That is so because only the “authorized” user can change the data, and he has to “log in” first. So, if you can’t get in, there’s no way you can change the biometric data.

Conclusion

The biometrics security system is exclusive. That might seem right for security, but it doesn’t leave room for any form of flexibility, making data retrieval virtually impossible (even for the rightful owner). However, its ease of access and efficiency still overshadow its security risks. It has its faults, but biometrics security is still evolving.

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