Biometrics Are Increasingly Favoured For Authentication

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelance and long standing contributor to TechWeek Europe

Fight to protect digital identity sees biometrics, two-factor authentication and password managers increasingly favoured

A new survey from IBM has shed light on the latest consumer trends for digital identities and authentication.

The IBM Security: Future of Identity Study surveyed nearly 4,000 adults from across the United States, Asia Pacific (APAC) and Europe. It found that security (ahead of convenience) is the highest priority for many when logging in, especially for money-related apps.

This contradict the long-held wisdom that convenience is king, as the survey found that 70 percent selected security as the top priority, with 16 percent selecting privacy, and 14 percent selecting convenience.

facial recognition biometric lead

Biometric Trend

But the IBM survey revealed some other interesting developments and trends. For example, it found that biometrics (fingerprints, facial scans and voice recognition etc) is becoming mainstream, as 67 percent of respondents are comfortable using biometric authentication at the moment.

Fingerprints are generally viewed as the most secure by respondents, but there are privacy concerns surrounding the use of biometrics, with 55 percent concerned about how the data is collected and used.

Others (50 percent) meanwhile fret about using fake biometric data to access their accounts.

And even more good news for biometric vendors going forward is that a further 87 percent said they would be comfortable with these technologies in the future.

Asia Pacific is leading the way for biometric uptake (the US however lags in last position).

The study also found that younger adults (so called millennials) are moving beyond the humble passwords, with 75 percent comfortable using biometrics.

Read More: The History of the password

But the study also found that less than half (only 42 percent) are using complex passwords, and 41 percent reuse passwords – a noteworthy concern given the fact that millennials are quickly becoming the largest generation in today’s workforce.

Millennials are also more likely to use password managers and multifactor authentication.

Older generations are said to have more care with password creation, but are less inclined to adopt biometrics and multifactor authentication.

The survey found that the average internet user in America is managing over 150 online accounts that require a password. This is expected to rise to over 300 accounts in coming years.

“In the wake of countless data breaches of highly sensitive personal data, there’s no longer any doubt that the very information we’ve used to prove our identities online in the past is now a shared secret in the hands of hackers,” said Limor Kessem, executive security advisor at IBM Security.

“As consumers are acknowledging the inadequacy of passwords and placing increased priority on security, the time is ripe to adopt more advanced methods that prove identity on multiple levels and can be adapted based on behaviour and risk,” said Kessem.

Password Security

The IBM survey which found that consumers are focusing more on strict security over convenience will no doubt please IT managers.

However that finding comes after a LastPass/Ovum study earlier this month, which found that passwords for the majority of staff remain a daily bane that can affect their productivity.

That survey also found that and 63 percent of IT managers have no technology in place to guard against unnecessary password sharing.

Despite that, many experts still regard passwords as the first line of defence, and despite all the problems associated with them, many still believe that passwords still have a vital role to play going forward.

Quiz: What do you know about cybersecurity in 2017?

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