As human beings, we are a greedy bunch, and we spend more time worrying about our possessions than the people we interact with. Meanwhile, everything around us is becoming increasingly automated. Companies are increasingly being advised to employ artificial intelligence. Governments and companies are using it to monitor citizens. Schools use it to analyze student data. Even our cars use it to drive themselves. Most people don’t even realize that this data, and these advanced technologies, will be taking over their lives in the coming years. Despite this, we continue to ignore the fact that all of this innovation is driven by a different type of hunger. The thirst for better data, to improve products and make them smarter. And the nature of that appetite will be increasingly automated. Technology itself is now a commodity, and it’s one that is being increasingly exploited.

Users are becoming increasingly overwhelmed with the plethora of passwords used in both personal and professional lives. At the same time, companies struggle to integrate and scale authentication solutions to different security levels. This raises the question: are passwords really the most secure or user-friendly form of authentication? Can we improve the user experience and security of authentication by changing the rules? We explore user-centric authentication, in which a single authentication method is used for various access mechanisms. We explain how existing standards and protocols are not suited to create one universal authentication method, present the problems this approach will cause, and discuss ways to solve them. We also propose a way to implement the standard FIDO protocol in user-centric authentication to enable it to function for a broad range of different access mechanisms.
Think about it – how many password patterns are used in your everyday life? Perhaps four? Five? More? A typical user goes through several passwords before being logged into a given system. The more passwords they have, the longer it takes for the user to log in. And, unfortunately, this leaves the user open to attacks, especially sophisticated ones. Users do get annoyed by the hassles of a longer password. Users are over the hurdle of resetting passwords every few days. Changing a password becomes very cumbersome for users. The user gets tired of remembering a string of increasingly shorter passwords over time. Changing passwords more frequently makes the user complacent. The hassle of remembering multiple passwords and remembering to have them in their digital wallet becomes an inconvenience. And that’s just the password itself!

A solution that could simplify user experience in authentication would be a biometric authentication. Biometric authentication is a technology used for identification and verification of a person based on their unique biological features. It works by recognizing the traits of an individual that are unique to each person, such as fingerprints, retina patterns, voice patterns, and facial structure. Biometric authentication offers several advantages for security systems over password-based systems. For example, it can prevent intruders from accessing your data if they manage to steal or guess your password. Biometrics also allows you to protect access to multiple

Biometric technology has become increasingly popular in the past decade thanks to its ability to verify a person’s identity with more speed and accuracy than a username/password combination. The use of biometric authentication systems will only continue to increase as more businesses make security and employee efficiency top priorities. With the ability to identify the user by recognizing fingerprints and facial features, passwords no longer need to be used. Each user’s data would be stored in a secure online database that could be accessed only by them. The smart biometric device could be used in lieu of passwords for logging into an enterprise’s systems.

Biometric authentication simply uses the body and its distinct characteristics, like fingerprints, palm prints or face recognition to identify a person. Fingerprint biometrics has been in use for more than 40 years now, with the first patent being filed in 1973 by S. Woodland at IBM. In 1988, the FBI launched its Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS) which was later replaced by NGI (Next Generation Identification). The concept has been around for more four decades, but it wasn’t until the late 1990s that fingerprint technology started becoming commercially available.

Different types of biometric authentication technologies are:

  • Fingerprint Scanning Technology
  • Iris Scanning Technology
  • Voice Recognition Technology
  • Facial Recognition Technology
  • Hand Geometry Authentication

Fingerprint Scanning Technology

Digital fingerprint reader is an enhancement in the existing security systems. With the growth in the advancements in the technology the fingerprint scanner industry is set to grow. Fingerprint sensor is a hardware device, it converts the unique variations of your fingerprints into an image and it communicates with the authentication software that captures the images. The authentication software interprets the variations and this is what makes it more secure. The technology exists in all the smartphones and other personal devices. The fingerprint sensor technology helps in the security of the device as it stores your fingerprint data and unlocks the device when required. The entire process is invisible to the user and has the basic goals to ensure that you are the rightful owner of the device.

Iris Scanning Technology

Scanning the iris is a relatively recent development and is growing in popularity. In addition to screening, this can be used for identification, wedding and identification purposes. The appearance and characteristics of the iris can influence the results of the biometric scanner. For example, a small, irregularly shaped iris is easier to recognize than a large, symmetrical iris. Iris scanners may not perform as well on lighter or darker colored eyes. The structure of the iris can change if the individual undergoes skin treatment or laser hair removal. In addition, the number and size of the pores in the skin can impact its appearance. Several commercial vendors offer the ability to add false rejection technology to iris biometrics. This allows users to enter a PIN number or enter a password with the knowledge that their iris cannot be used in a successful authentication attempt. However, this procedure introduces an additional level of complexity and can impact both the accuracy and speed of authentication.

Voice Recognition Technology

Voice recognition technology has been around for more than three decades, but it has yet to reach the point where this kind of technology can be used on a regular basis. There are many benefits that come with having voice recognition software and hardware in your home or business, especially as we become more dependent on our mobile devices. Voice recognition technology has become popular in the past few years as more educational and research institutions have been working to improve it. Though Voice recognition technology has been around since the 1950s, but it is only in recent years that it has become an enterprise-level application. From Siri on your smartphone to Google Home, this technology is becoming more advanced and widespread every day. The tech giant Microsoft recently announced they are adding voice-activated commands to their Xbox One gaming consoles, which will allow gamers to play certain games without using a controller.

Facial Recognition Technology

Facial recognition technology uses software and cameras to measure facial features and patterns, which are then compared with those of other individuals for authentication purposes. The technology has exploded over the past few years, and the results of its use have been both good and bad. Some businesses are implementing facial recognition software to help combat shoplifting or monitor security. However, there is also a growing concern that this technology will be used to infringe upon privacy rights or even target individuals in order to create a social exclusion list.
Facial recognition technology has become a highly controversial issue in the United States in recent years. While some have argued that it is an invasion of privacy, others have claimed it could be used to reduce crime and terrorism. The controversy surrounding this technology stems from the fact that most people do not know how their faces may be being tracked or stored. Facial scans can reveal personal information about a person without their knowledge—information that may not be theirs by right. While facial recognition technology may not seem like a big deal at first glance, the implications behind this latest advancement are far-reaching.

Hand Geometry Authentication

Hand geometry authentication is an emerging biometric, which uses hand images to match the characteristics of the hands and fingers. It uses the unique shape of a person’s hand to identify them. It can be used in many sectors such as banking, payment, gaming and e-commerce. This technology can be used to verify identity in a secure way without using any passwords or PINs.
Hand geometry authentication is a method that uses hand images to identify an individual based on the unique features of their hands. These hand images can be a handwritten biometric, a palm print, or a photograph of a hand. The goal of hand geometry authentication is to validate the owner of a device and prevent unauthorized use of it. The major application areas of hand geometry authentication include payment services, banking services, gaming services, identity services, supply chain services, network services, health services, and hardware services.

Authentication Standards
FIDO Authentication is a standard that allows a device (smartphone, computer, tablet, etc.) to authenticate itself to a website without a user-entered password or PIN. The FIDO standard is an authentication technology that uses web services (a web browser) to “dial” to a FIDO-compliant web server to exchange tokens. FIDO allows an encrypted connection to a secure web server to confirm the identity of a web browser, and then exchange a user authentication token. Each FIDO-compliant device acts as an authenticator, and can be authenticated to a web server via a one-time passcode or biometric authentication.

The FIDO standard consists of two main components: FIDO framework, and web authentication specification. The FIDO framework is open-source and extensible, and consists of a number of standards for enabling FIDO-compliant interfaces to various secure application programming interfaces (APIs). The web authentication specification is a single specification that specifies a simple way to send authentication challenges, and then use them to make decisions about the user. The FIDO standard works on the basis of having both the web server (Authenticator) and the web browser (Authenticator-Store) mutually trust each other. There are two components of the FIDO-SSO architecture: Web Authentication and Client/Server Authentication. To establish a secure connection, Web Authentication uses host security features such as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL), SSL/TLS, RADIUS and digital certificate authentication. These security features help to authenticate users and ensure that all website interactions are safe, secure and reliable.

In our view, one key benefit of FIDO standards is that they allow the industry to innovate on the user experience. In fact, new technologies—in addition to authentication security—have developed as part of the overall FIDO standards, such as biometric, biometric-friendly user interface, and tokenized biometric. In other words, FIDO standards set an open, open-source, and interoperable framework for authentication protocols and once integrated with biometric authentication can become a solution of the choice for enterprise as well as personal security.

The future is here: where do we go from here?
Biometric authentication is the future of technology, and It is rapidly becoming the preferred form of identification and authentication. The technology can be used for secure identification in both remote and face-to-face settings, as well as to authenticate transactions such as bank payments or mobile phone purchases. Biometric sensors getting sophisicated and with the state-of-the-art design system integrators are building innovative solutions. The future of authentication cannot be imagined without a biometric solution.

Cionlabs Private Limites is an ISO-9001, ISO 27001 certified organization with having cyber security experts with over 25 years of experience in developing secure hardware and software.  For your security related hardware/software requirements, feel free to connect with our experts.