Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Online security pointing at fingerprints

In just one year almost ten million American adults were victims of identity fraud/theft. Over 12 months this activity cost the US $52.6 billion. With hackers and fraudsters becoming more aggressive and sophisticated isn’t it about time that banks and financial institutions consider how biometrics really can help in the war against identity theft fraud?
When signing into online banking you are asked for a series of unique codes created by you or the bank. Each organisation has different ways in which they will ask for this information – whether it be the whole code or just several random digits from it. A customer is usually asked for their date of birth or a memorable word they have chosen. Once this information is given the customer has full access to their account details, balance and many other things as well as the option to transfer funds. Although the information may be unique to the person it is not hard for other people to find these questions out and simply have full access to your account details. Banks know that their customers’ account login information can be vulnerable and they seek to improve security, but can they do more now?
UK and international banks have added additional security measures for their online banking customers. For example HSBC gives all of their customers the choice of downloading Rapport, their personal anti-virus software which authenticates websites and their security certificates and warns you if they are unsafe before you submit your password. Barclays, NatWest and Lloyds have given all internet banking customers ‘card readers’ meaning that the card being used to transfer money has to be entered into this and the customer has to enter their pin number before any money can be transferred. Many customers see these as an inconvenience but agree to use them because they believe they are using their personal details more securely.
With all these security measures in place why are there still high levels of identity theft and fraudulent activities happening? It’s simple because pin numbers, card readers, secret answers and unique codes can all be stolen.  Thieves will continue to find ways around even the strongest of security measures except the only thing that can’t be stolen, you. By finding the genuine article of authentication there will be no need for pins, codes and questions – only your fingerprint.
Which of these seems the likeliest to protect your information securely?
·         Something you may know – a pin code, a sequence of numbers and letters, a password?
·         Something you may have – an ID card, a token, a passport?
·         Something you are – a fingerprint, your voice, your signature?
A fingerprint, a voice, a signature can be copied, but with effective sensor and reading technology forged copies can be detected and rejected. The Connective Touch range of fingerprint reading solutions from Global Bio Tec can identify a forged or fake fingerprint and will deny access to fraudsters and thieves.
The logical application linked to governmental imperatives to minimise welfare benefit fraud is to consider introducing fingerprint biometrics to make sure that welfare payments are paid to those who are entitled to them. The savings on fraud and administration costs could be immense!

No comments:

Post a Comment