SecurityBrief Asia logo
Asia's leading source of cybersecurity and cyber-attack news
Story image

Can biometrics help? 123% increase in Gen Zs scammed online

In the three years leading up to 2022, the number of Gen Zs who fell victim to online scams rose by 123%, according to Ping Identity.

While this generation of digital natives is often perceived as the most tech savvy, digitally literate age group, the rise in Gen Z falling for online scammers is reflective of higher levels of comfort in online spaces, often leading to unforeseen financial and emotional harm as a result.

It has become increasingly clear that passwords alone no longer make the cut in terms of device security, Ping Identity says.

The company says that 81% of hacking-related breaches use stolen, or weak passwords. Due to the obvious flaws in the traditional way of accessing our devices and apps, Ping Identity has assessed the rise in biometric data use, whether it really is more secure, and the impact it will have on the way we store and use our personal data.

Biometric data is being used for a whole range of different purposes, with over 75% of Americans having used biometric technology 
38% of people already using face authentication to access their mobile banking app. 
37% of those over 40 feel safer using biometrics for security than before the pandemic.

The prevalence of online fraud and cybercrime continues to increase worldwide, growing at a rapid rate by the year. The general consensus in recent years is that enhanced levels of cybersecurity must be built on zero trust and passwordless authentication. Rather than a continued reliance on passwords, security tools are employing users biometric data to prove that the person, and their device, is legitimate.

Types of Biometric Information

Common, widespread uses of biometrics include fingerprint and facial recognition, which almost any modern mobile phone or electronic device will have as an option. Unlocking your phone or laptop simply by looking at it, or even speaking to it, is now the absolute norm. As this technology continues to progress, expand, and evolve, any security issues directly linked to these methods are often overlooked.

"We all know the importance of securing our login information. Keeping our many usernames and passwords safe has become second nature to us and with identity fraud losses totalling out at $52 billion in 2021, it is now more important than ever that we achieve added levels of online safety," Ping Identity says.

"Now that biometric data is being used more frequently to access our online accounts, how is this information actually being stored? It begs the question of whether biometric data is actually as safe as we would like it to assume, and are there any ways to enhance levels of security of our biometric data?"

How is Biometric Information Captured?

Distinctive biometric traits are used to confirm the identity of the user. While they must be unique to the individual, it is also important that they are permanent and unchangeable, allowing for longterm access, as well as possessing measurable and collectable properties.

The current, commonly captured biometric data includes:

  • Fingerprint templates
  • Iris and retina templates
  • Voice print
  • 2D or 3D facial structure maps
  • Hand and finger geometry maps
  • Vein recognition templates
  • Gait analysis maps
  • DNA profiles
  • Behavioural biometric profiles

 
"When combined, these characteristics are what makes biometric data one of the most effective means of identifying users. The unique characteristics are what gives biometrics such high levels of reliability for users," Ping Identity says.

"It simply isn't possible to forget or lose our fingerprints in the same way we might forget a username or password!"

The Future of Biometric Data

According to Ping Identity, while the commonly used types of biometric data are well known, there are also a range of other biometrics that are being implemented on a smaller scale.

"Although not widespread in terms of their use, some of these surprising biometric applications are set to be implemented in the future."

These include:

  • Body odour, unique chemical footprints each person carries with them
  • Ear print or structure, which doesn't change with age
  • Gesture recognition, already part of Windows 10
  • Lip prints, as each person has a unique pattern of lip grooves

How Is Biometric Information Stored?

As users cannot change their biometric data that is obtained by unauthorised parties, it is extremely important that it be handled with the utmost care.

Why are Biometrics Safer? 

Companies such as Apple have decided that they will phase out passwords altogether, and Google Chrome's password manager is due to get desktop biometric authentication very soon. Due to concerns surrounding data breaches, social engineering, or phishing attacks these companies who lead the way in terms of smart at-home devices believe this will reduce the risk of your identity, personal information, and finances being compromised.

Biometric technology follows a number of steps in ensuring your data remains secure.

Capturing the information is the first step towards using biometric information for identity authentication. It is then converted to a mathematical rendering known as a biometric template, referenced against the live version presented by the user.

This converts or copies specific characteristics of a biometric sample into a secure form, taking the image or sample out of the equation and replacing it with a binary mathematical equivalent or algorithm.

"These steps make it nearly impossible to replicate biometrics, discarding the image of a fingerprint, iris or any given characteristic while the live version is compared in real time to the captured characteristics," Ping Identity says.
 
How is Biometric Data Stored? 

Unlike passwords, biometric data is usually only stored on a users device. No external devices, databases or servers can access the data, eliminating any single collection point where a hacker might steal it. In the unlikely event that someone did gain access to a devices biometric data, it is impossible to reverse engineer the conversion that created it to produce an image that will be recognised and accepted by a biometric sensor.

Any sensor on a device has a file where the biometric template is stored. This file is protected by a randomly generated key encrypted into the system.

Biometric data is usually stored securely using one of these methods:

  • On a device 
  • On a portable token
  • On a control board
  • On a biometric database server
  • On both a server and a device
  • Split across multiple pieces of hardware

What Are the Risks When Storing Biometric Data?

Although seen as the most secure form of storing data, there still are some risks. How secure your biometric is will depend on how you store it! All storage methods mentioned above use encryption to protect biometric data.

This is a secure means of storage, although anything that is encrypted can be decrypted. Encrypted data is only as safe, secure and trustworthy as the users who have access to it.

Convenience Levels

Device storage is far more secure than storage in a database. Although databases  can be convenient and cost effective, with large numbers of biometric templates for users, databases can be an attractive hacking target. If hacked, large volumes of data become immediately vulnerable. Encryption is key and can be a big help, but the key to risk reduction. is having control over who has access to data and how they are using it.

Accuracy

The probability of identifying someone through biometric data is very high. That being said, 100% accuracy cant be guaranteed. Additionally, although rare, there have been cases of unauthorised users accessing devices secured with biometrics. The rate at which this is measured, known as the false accept rate (FAR) is typically one or two in 100,000, reinforcing the fact that biometrics are one of the most secure means of device protection.

Privacy

Privacy is another common concern. Biometric data is likely to bring targeted advertising to the physical world. An example of this is in-store cameras that collaborate with social media companies. This could result in in-store ads to display targeted, customer specific ads when you enter a store.

Fortunately, some government bodies are aware of current trends, and laws are being created to control the way biometric data is used. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) addresses these concerns in Europe, and a growing number of states are enacting or considering Biometric Information Privacy Laws (BIPAs).

Protecting Your Biometric Information

The market for biometrics, such as facial recognition, is estimated to grow $7 billion by 2024.

Around 28% biometric technology is used in the USA by the financial sector and more than 60% of payment transactions using biometric authentication will be carried out remotely.

As biometrics use becomes more common, your personal traits are likely to be stored in a growing number of places. It is important for users to stay vigilant about biometric security. Here are some things to consider when providing your biometric information.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cybersecurity
Continuous attack attempts discovered on Atlassian Confluence zero day
Following a coordinated disclosure of a zero-day vulnerability by Volexity in Atlassian Confluence, attackers went wild to exploit it.
Story image
Malware
Mandiant uncovers malware ecosystem deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems
Mandiant research has uncovered a novel malware ecosystem that was found deployed on VMware hypervisors and guest systems by an advanced and suspected China nexus threat actor.
Story image
Microsoft
Yubico research finds concerning trends around authentication security practices
A new global survey from Yubico has found that 59% of employees still rely on usernames and passwords as the primary method to authenticate their accounts.
Story image
Malware
Black Lotus Labs discovers new, multipurpose malware
Black Lotus Labs, the threat intelligence team at Lumen, has discovered a new, rapidly growing, multipurpose malware written in the Go programming language.
Story image
Apple
Jamf shows intent to acquire mobile security firm ZecOps
This acquisition positions Jamf to help IT and security teams strengthen their organisation’s mobile security posture.
Story image
Work from home
Jamf showcases new products to simplify and secure work
At the 13th annual Jamf Nation User Conference, the company shared how its continuous product innovation is helping organisations succeed with Apple.
Story image
Network Management
Fortinet introduces enhanced AIOps across its gateways
FortiAIOps builds on Fortinet's rich history of developing artificial intelligence to deliver actionable network insights for self-optimising management.
Story image
Kaspersky
Cybersecurity loopholes prevalent in South East Asia
In terms of the share of vulnerabilities with publicly available exploits, three countries out of top five are located in Southeast Asia.
Story image
Secure Code Warrior
Secure Code Warrior announces Coding Labs innovation
Coding Labs mechanisms allow developers to move from learning to applying secure coding knowledge more efficiently, leading to fewer code vulnerabilities.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Varonis adds secrets discovery to data classification
The data security firm announces enhancements that detect and remediate overexposed private keys, encryption certificates, API keys, and authentication tokens.
Story image
Ransomware
Delinea updates DevOps security, remote access more seamless
New enhancements include development support on the most recent Mac computers and improved secrets' management usability through automation.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Test your API Security with Infinite API Scanner
The effectiveness of API scanning technology can mean the difference between successful and unsuccessful programming outcomes, and often enterprises and IT leaders struggle to get it right.
Story image
Mobile Device Management
How to easily scale your mobile workforce and devices for the peak shopping season
Retailers are under constant pressure to streamline processes and become more efficient while looking for ways to improve customer satisfaction levels.
Story image
Threat intelligence
Trellix advances threat intelligence with new research centre
Trellix has announced the establishment of the Trellix Advanced Research Center to advance global threat intelligence.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Ransomware attacks continue to increase, report finds
Nearly a quarter of businesses have suffered a ransomware attack, with a fifth occurring in the past 12 months.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Fortinet advances AIOps to aid the hybrid workforce
"We’re continuing our commitment to AI innovation by delivering AIOps capabilities across our robust portfolio of enterprise networking technology."
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Ordr improves security and management of connected devices
It has implemented more than 80 integrations within the Ordr Data Lake while adding security enhancements to accelerate zero trust segmentation.
Story image
Phishing
Vectra Protect team finds Microsoft Teams vulnerability
The Vectra Protect team identified a post-exploitation opportunity in August, allowing malicious actors to steal valid user credentials from Microsoft Teams.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Macroeconomic headwinds driving security up priority list
Current macroeconomic headwinds are driving security up enterprise’s priority list and reshaping the hardware Security Module market.
Story image
Software-as-a-Service
Enterprises yet to fully commit to cybersecurity - CompTIA
“Digital transformation driven by cloud and mobile adoption requires a new strategic approach to cybersecurity, but this poses significant challenges."
Story image
Malware
Cybereason delivers nation-state level of protection to enterprises
Cybereason has announced new advancements in Cybereason NGAV that deliver nation-state level protection for organisations of all sizes.
Story image
Malware
Kaspersky uncovers new malicious malware NullMixer
Kaspersky researchers have uncovered a new malware stealing users credentials, address, credit card data, cryptocurrencies, and accounts.
Story image
Enterprise
Delinea shares the importance of PAM, partners and security for modern enterprise
Identity-based security is becoming a crucial tool for modern enterprises as they continue to adapt to different working environments.
Story image
Malware
Decrease in malware volume, but surge in encrypted malware
The Q2 Internet Security Report found office exploits continue to spread more than any other category of malware.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
Hybrid cloud security driving need for deep observability
Gigamon is bringing application and network-level intelligence together to help network, security, and cloud IT operations teams eliminate security blind spots.
Story image
Cybersecurity
StackHawk launches deeper API security test coverage
Expansion of test coverage includes custom scan discovery, custom test scripts and custom test data for REST APIs.
Story image
Cybersecurity
De-risking the innovation cycle – a modern, real-time approach to security
Many organisations see cybersecurity as an inhibitor of innovation, with burdensome protection measures standing in the way of progress and speed.
Story image
Edge Security
Security practices for modernising the “spaghetti” of on-premises IT
Many organisations are wondering how to securely modernise their workload, often made up of a “spaghetti” of on-premises applications and management consoles.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Video: 10 Minute IT Jams - An update from SearchInform
Val Novoselova joins us today to to discuss new trends in the information security space, and how SearchInform is adapting to some of the new trends we are seeing.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Best practices for industrial cyber resilience
Operational technology (OT) security is gaining more attention than ever before, but sufficient understanding of what it takes to prevent breaches is still lacking amongst many organisations.
Aws Marketplace
Learn how to implement a backup and recovery plan for a new generation of Kubernetes-based modern applications
Link image
Story image
Data Protection
Cloudflare brings Data Localisation Suite to more APAC businesses
This allows any business in these countries to service their data locally while benefiting from the speed, security, and scalability of Cloudflare’s global network.
Story image
IT Training
Six ways to transform your cybersecurity training and influence lasting change
If the goal is to win hearts and minds, formal awareness training can fall short and often doesn’t inspire people to care.
Story image
Legacy
Trellix enables greater cyber resiliency with extended XDR platform
"Legacy SIEM technology has failed to modernise security operations. We are confident Trellix XDR fills this critical gap.”
AWS Marketplace
Whitepaper: A practical guide for mitigating risk in today’s modern applications
Link image
Story image
Cloud Security
75% of AU companies had cloud security incident in past year
According to new Venafi research, complexity is due to increase, as companies plan to host more applications in the cloud.
Story image
Cloud
How modern IT architectures are moving beyond network visibility
Dealing with multiple cloud providers makes it difficult to identify security threats and performance bottlenecks and troubleshoot issues.
Story image
Firewall
Forrester names Akamai as web application firewall leader
"We continually monitor and improve our capabilities to defend customers from new threats, while enabling customers to protect evolving attack surfaces."
Story image
Virtual Private Network
95% of organisation rely on VPN as threats continue - report
There is a growing number of VPN-specific security threats and a need for Zero Trust security architecture in enterprise-level organisations.
Story image
Data Protection
99% of security experts unhappy with tokenisation investment
Cybersecurity experts are looking for a solution that provides the strength of tokenisation while removing the friction that has accompanied it in the past.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Employees unsure who to go to to report security incident
A new study shows more than 20% of the untrained global workforce do not know who to contact during a security breach.