4 Innovations in Personal Authentication Technology

July 22, 2017

10:30 am

There is no such thing as a strong password. In fact, just by brute force, many hackers can crack a password in less than an hour. Get a machine involved, and it can iterate through millions of potential passwords until it finds the right one. Forcing users to add symbols, capital letters, and other elements doesn’t help. It’s long been clear that something more is needed, especially when it comes to sensitive data and financial transactions.

Companies that truly care about security are investing in other personal authentication technologies. Through the years, we have seen a surge in the use of multi-factor authentication, biometrics, and facial recognition just to name a few.

Today, innovators continue the quest to improve access control and up the game when it comes to personal authentication technologies. Here are four that are really making waves.

Bio Authentication for Payment Processing

Nymi has teamed up with TD and Mastercard to create a wearable payment system. The Nymi band can be worn on the wrist and acts as a multi-factor authenticator. It measures the wearer's heartbeat among other things to ensure that the person with the device is the authorized user.

Once the user has been authenticated, the band acts much like any other payment app. Just like you would tap your phone or wave a key fob over a reader, wearers simply do the same with their Nymi band.

Biometric Single Sign On

The vast majority of data breaches happen for two reasons. Users share unencrypted files, or their passwords become compromised. These breaches cause $5.6 billion per year in losses just in the healthcare industry.

When passwords are replaced with biometrics, the potential for human error, irresponsibility, or nefarious behavior to cause data to be compromised is reduced considerably. People can steal or share passwords. They cannot steal or share biometric information. Machines cannot spoof biometrics. It is for these reasons that biometric single sign on is becoming popular in a wide variety of industries.

Customized ID Cards

One, very important element in data security and personal authentication is simply keeping people out of places they don’t belong. Unfortunately, too many people underestimate the importance of access control. Businesses that want to ensure sensitive data is protected from physical access can add custom ID cards, which can be used for a variety of industries including car rentals, educational institutions, retail, events and more.

These cards can be used in tandem with magnetic readers to control physical access to computer rooms, vaults, and other sensitive areas. They also provide a visible means of proving identity.

USB Keys

Yubico has been a long time manufacturer of USB key devices. When combined with traditional password technology, the USB key is a perfectly simple way to quickly move from a single factor authentication system to a two factor authentication system.

In addition to producing traditional dongles that are plugged into USB outlets in order to authenticate users, the Yubikey Neo works on mobile devices. When implemented, this could mean an extra layer of security for banking apps, mobile payment solutions, etc.

True data security is the result of access control methods that work. While passwords can be a part of the solution, they are often the weakest link. This is especially true when they are the only thing standing between an intruder and your systems. Unfortunately, companies are still relying largely on password based, single factor authentication access control. The solutions provided above use biometrics to prevent password stealing and sharing, improve the security of payment solutions, prevent unauthorized physical access, and enable meaningful solutions to be deployed before it's too late.

Read more about cybersecurity on TechCo

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Solopreneur, digital nomad and freelance writer. Elena runs a popular blog where she shares her adventures and cultural escapades. When not on the road, she lives in a charming French town, lost in Jura mountains.