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Explore Types, Risks and Benefits of Cybersecurity with Biometric Authentication

Posted by Ethan N. on August 18, 2023.

Biometric authentication commonly pertains to cybersecurity protocols that verify a user’s identity by utilising their biological characteristics, including their voice, retinas, fingerprints, and facial features. These systems store this information to authenticate the user’s identity when accessing their account. Furthermore, biometric authentication offers greater confidentiality compared to traditional multi-factor authentication methods.

Types of Authentication Methods

Biometric authentication is a cybersecurity process that verifies a person’s identity using their distinct biological characteristics. This method securely stores this information and employs it to authenticate individuals when they attempt to access their accounts or systems. Compared to traditional multi-factor authentication methods, biometric authentication is generally considered more secure.

Several authentication techniques have been developed to outsmart cybercriminals and including the utilisation of biometric technologies, such as:

Facial Recognition

The software employs the distinctive facial features of the user to identify and recognise them. It is utilised across various applications, including credit card payments, law enforcement, and smartphones.

Fingerprint Recognition

This system utilises the distinctive fingerprints of individuals to authenticate their identity. It is employed to secure a wide range of things, from mobile devices to automobiles and even buildings, making it the most widely adopted biometric authentication technology.

Eye Recognition

The system validates the distinct pattern of the user’s retina or iris to identify them. Due to its more complex implementation requirements, this biometric authentication method is less common compared to other options. An iris scan necessitates an infrared light source, an infrared-sensitive camera, and minimal ambient light interference to ensure precision.

However, despite its challenges, iris recognition remains one of the most precise and dependable biometric authentication systems available, particularly in situations where security is paramount, such as nuclear research facilities. 

Voice Recognition

This technique employs the distinct pitch, tone, and frequencies that are unique to each individual to authenticate their identity. It is commonly used as a biometric method to verify users when they contact call centres for customer service support, including tasks such as online banking.

Iris/Retina Recognition 

Retina recognition, also referred to as iris recognition, utilises the distinctive pattern of the user’s iris or retina for identification. This biometric authentication method is typically less prevalent due to its complex implementation. 

However, when the necessary conditions are met, it is considered one of the most dependable biometric authentication techniques available. As a result, it is commonly employed in situations where security is of utmost importance. 

Gait Recognition

This system analyses the gait of a user when they walk. Each person has a unique walking style, making the manner in which they place one foot over another an effective means of identifying them. Whilst it is not currently a widely used or common form of authentication, it is projected to become more prevalent in the future.

Vein Recognition

This system utilises the blood vessel pattern in a user’s hand or finger for identification. It operates by employing infrared light to create a map of the veins beneath the skin in an individual’s fingers or hands. Vein recognition is known for its exceptional accuracy, surpassing even iris or retina recognition methods.

Biometric Authentication Benefits and Risks


Ease of Use

Biometric authentication offers a quick and user-friendly experience, whilst its internal process is more technically oriented. By utilising this feature, users can reduce the frequency of traditional logins requiring lengthy passwords with multiple special characteristics, which users often forget.

Fraud Detection 

Biometrics are highly challenging to replicate, making them significantly resistant to theft. The chances of a user’s fingerprint precisely matching someone else’s are estimated to be about 1 in 64 billion. Consequently, it is highly unlikely for a hacker to gain access to anything secured with biometrics due to their exceptional security level. 

Identity Insurance

Biometric identification combines the elements of “something a person has and is” to verify identity, providing heightened levels of assurance to end-users. Through the use of advanced software, biometric authentication confirms that a person’s claimed identity corresponds to a tangible, real-world trait. Even if a cyber attacker knew a user’s password or the answer to their security question, it would be impossible for them to replicate a fingerprint or iris scan, ensuring an additional layer of security.


Being Hackable

Whilst it is true that hackers pose a persistent threat to governments and businesses that store personal data, hacking biometrics is significantly more challenging compared to traditional data breaches. Biometric data, such as fingerprints or iris scans, are not easily replicated or modified like passwords or other forms of authentication. 

However, organisations must handle biometric data with great care, especially in the event of a data breach, to prevent unauthorised access or misuse. Implementing robust security measures and encryption protocols is essential to safeguard biometric information and maintain user trust.

Partial Matches

Unconventional biometric authentication techniques often rely on partial information to authenticate a user’s identity. For example, in the case of fingerprint authentication, this system captures the complete fingerprint image during the enrollment process and converts it into data for subsequent registration and verification. These techniques utilise specific features or patterns from the captured information to establish and validate the user’s identity.

The Bottomline

In today’s rapidly changing cybersecurity landscape, safeguarding biometric data and staying proactive against cyber threats is of utmost importance. Embracing biometric authentication and adopting robust security protocols enable organisations to enhance the safeguarding of user identities, thereby creating a more resilient digital ecosystem.