What is the future of biometrics, and are there opportunities for my business to become more secure through biometric authentication? Keep reading to find out.

What is the future of biometrics?

The future of biometrics will be adding facial, voice, or other types of biometric authentication to security for accessing sensitive data at work, applying for a bank loan, or using money management systems.

What Are Biometrics?

Biometric authentication is the use of physical characteristics to verify a user’s identity for authentication and authorization. Biometric authentication systems collect and store different physical characteristics in templates that can be used to verify users.

Biometrics are a rapidly expanding and reliable form of authentication because physical characteristics are, for the most part, much more difficult to falsify than passwords or PINs. Additionally, the ubiquitous implementation of biometric scanners on popular consumer devices (smartphones, tablets, and workstations) has made that much easier. 

Easy deployment, ready adoption, and increased security have made biometrics a major part of modern cybersecurity. Additionally, this increased focus on biometrics has resulted in continued innovation in several different areas of biometrics. New types of scanners, new software, and new AI have promoted various types of biometrics, including the following:

  • Fingerprints: Fingerprint scanners are common on workstations and mobile devices because fingerprints are unique. Likewise, modern computers and laptops often employ fingerprints as a baseline identity verification mechanism if not using other biometrics. 
  • Iris Signature: The human iris features are considered equally unique, if not more than to fingerprints. Modern cameras on mobile devices can scan the iris for identity verification. 
  • Facial Recognition: Much like iris scans, facial recognition scans use cameras on mobile devices or computers to match facial features (nose, eyes, ears, mouth, etc.) as a biometric fingerprint for identity verification. 

In terms of security, facial and iris scans are somewhat more secure overall than fingerprints, if for no other reason than it’s much harder to fake a face (in theory at least—see our discussion on the challenges of biometrics later in this article). 

  • Voice Recognition: Voice recognition has often been marginalized due to the relative ease by which a hacker could spoof a voice through a voice modulator. Modern AI, however, has strengthened voice recognition such that it has become a viable form of biometric authentication for select sensitive systems. 
  • Handwriting Recognition: With the addition of document verification systems into security and privacy, handwriting recognition is an essential form of behavioral biometrics. While handwriting can often be faked by practiced forgers, matching handwriting on file against official documents is still a viable security measure in human-managed document verification.
  • Vascular Recognition: Some innovative sensors can record and identify vein patterns from different body parts using IR light. This form of biometrics overlaps with iris scans in that they both look for vein patterns as part of their operation. 

What Are Future Trends in Biometrics?

While biometric authentication methods are becoming more common across consumer and enterprise systems, new forms of fraud prevention and advanced biometric approaches are filling in the gap for systems that call for higher levels of reliability and security.

Some of the future trends for biometric authentication include the following:

  • Physical Identity Verification: The expansion of AI-driven biometrics, particularly facial and behavioral biometrics (gait, voice, and accent recognition), will fuel new forms of real-time biometric identity verification through on-premises cameras. 
  • Advanced Biometric Authentication: While there are reliable forms of biometrics and biometric passwords in the market now, new technologies are focusing on drawing even more advanced biometric markers from the body, each providing another hard-to-fake marker to use for secure authentication. These can include odor recognition, heartbeat pattern recognition, hand geometry, and DNA signature reading.
  • Identity Proofing: One of the strengths of biometric authentication is the assumption that the user must be physically present to provide biometric data. Even stronger measures, like live identity verification or AI-driven video identity verification, layer additional “liveness” testing into the processes to thwart emerging forms of identity fraud.
  • Continuous Authentication: Authentication usually happens once, during login, or multiple times based on user access to different resources. Continuous authentication uses behavioral patterns or other markers to maintain authentication to guarantee continued user verification over time periodically. 

These trends aren’t emerging in isolation: advanced biometrics drive innovation on continuous authentication, while identity proofing is fueling more advanced physical identity verification in areas like high-security compliance standards. 

What Are the Challenges of Modern Biometrics?

While the future of biometric authentication looks bright, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any speed bumps. Modern security methods will always introduce new threats, new problems, and new ideas to challenge new systems. 

Some of the common threats that we see arising include the following:

  • Physical Spoofing: One of the bigger challenges for image-based biometrics (facial scans, etc.) is using artificial methods to fool these systems. For example, a hacker may attempt to use the photograph of a user in place of that actual user to cheat the authentication system.
    While AI is playing a significant role in mitigating these challenges, physical spoofing of biometrics like faces, fingerprints, and even iris patterns have been proven, in controlled situations, to bypass even high-level biometric authentication systems. 
  • Deepfakes: Modern AI is also fueling attack vectors like deepfakes. A deepfake is a faked video of an individual or event that has been modified to look shockingly real, particularly to the human eye. Deepfake videos combine advanced video-editing techniques and voice spoofing to create nearly real videos showing a famous figure saying something shocking or illegal.

The social impact of these deepfakes are apparent. However, the technical and security impact is also a huge problem. Deepfaked videos can be used to trick facial recognition tools or even video-driven identity proofing and liveness checks. 

  • Civil and Legal Accountability: Modern biometrics can present a significant ethical issue depending on the information they gather. For example, a user may feel unease working with a system that constantly monitors typing patterns or their facial features for continuous authentication purposes. 

New laws are coming into focus, at international, national, and local levels, to address these issues. Like the European Union, some jurisdictions are quickly moving to implement consumer-focused laws to protect end users from unlawful and unethical data-gathering processes. Many states in the Unitd States (like California) are moving quickly to follow the lead of the EU.

Meld Modern Biometrics and Decentralized Identity with 1Kosmos

Biometric authentication is the foundation for modern identity management and security. Most consumer multi-factor authentication solutions will offer some form of biometric scanning. 

1Kosmos takes this to the next level for true, enterprise-level authentication and security. Passwordless authentication, driven through biometrics, decentralized identity management systems, and intuitive user experience strengthen overall security by promoting solid cyber hygiene. 

With 1Kosmos BlockID, you get a platform with the following features:

  • Private and Permissioned Blockchain: 1Kosmos protects personally identifiable information in a private and permissioned blockchain and encrypts digital identities and is only accessible by the user. The distributed properties ensure that there are no databases to breach or honeypots for hackers to target. 
  • Identity Proofing: BlockID verifies identity anywhere, anytime and on any device with over 99% accuracy.
  • Streamlined User Experience: 1Kosmos provides simple user onboarding and convenient access anywhere, anytime and on any device. The experience can be delivered via the BlockID app or integrated via our SDK into your custom app.
  • Identity-Based Authentication: We push biometrics and authentication into a new “who you are” paradigm. BlockID uses biometrics to identify individuals, not devices, through credential triangulation and identity verification.
  • Interoperability: BlockID can readily integrate with existing infrastructure through its 50+ out of the box integrations or via API/SDK.

To learn more about BlockID, read more about 1Kosmos Biometric Authentication: Key Capabilities and Benefits. And make sure to sign up for the 1Kosmos email newsletter.