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The Daunting Digital Age

The creation and implementation of the Internet has presented us with many incredible opportunities to communicate and to do business, the shift towards e-commerce is growing and at this rate cannot be stopped. Due to this exponential growth and expansion, the opportunities for cybercrimes have in turn grown and expanded. According to The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners’, a ‘typical’ business can expect to lose approximately 5% of its revenue each year because of fraudulent activity – translating globally to a $3.7 trillion economic loss. On top of this, there is no shortage of stories online regarding identity theft. This means that businesses and individuals alike need to adapt their security features in order to effectively combat digital fraud.

Privacy and Security

The various data breaches and leaks of 2017 acted like a wake-up call for many consumers – leaving them contemplating their vulnerability to digital attacks. The Facebook/Cambridge Analytica data dump of 2017 left 96,000 South African users compromised, and then the “Master Deeds” incident exposed more than 30 million South African Identity numbers, names, ages, gender, ethnicity, home ownership, contact information. Earlier this year close to a million South Africans had their data exposed once again through an online traffic fines payment platform. It is no wonder then why a recent IBM survey showed that consumers place security as the top priority, above convenience or privacy, especially when it comes to anything related to their finances.

The death of passwords

In this ever-evolving digital age we live in, consumers have to manage and maintain dozens of passwords and other information-based login credentials to protect their valuable personal data.  There is no doubt that passwords are no longer enough to secure personal data. This is primarily because of the lack of ‘password hygiene’ practiced by users. Most users do not create separate passwords for separate accounts and often use passwords that they can easily remember such as their date of birth or their mother’s maiden name. According to Security Engineer, Diogo Mónica of the Jscrambler, “As far as passwords go, they are widely recognized by security experts as a very poor authentication mechanism, mostly due to people’s inability to choose long, unguessable passwords.”

There have been various developments made in providing alternatives to traditional password security such as PINs, push notifications, two-factor authentication and tokens. However online hackers are increasingly adapting their methods to exploit and wreak havoc, which means current methods of authentication are still insufficient, this has companies searching for new and innovative ways to verify user identities. Right now, there is an alternative that is growing in popularity – biometrics.

So, What Exactly are Biometrics?

Simply put, biometrics are the automated recognition of individuals based on their biological and behavioural characteristics. In other words, with biometrics you become the password! This is done by creating individual digital identities through the integration of unique body parts such as faces, fingerprints and irises. Once the images for these identities are captured they are then run through an algorithm that attaches to other information about the identity. Put another way, an image is captured of a live person through their physical biology or presence, which is compressed into a smaller amount of information – sometimes called a digital template – that can then be compared against information stored in a database or to information stored on identification documents.

Why the biometric revolution is the solution.

This type of technology represents a long history of efforts by states, social actors and companies to identify, verify and keep consistent records of their constituents, be they citizens, customers or employees. Biometrics began developing as far back as the 1960s but were still relatively obscure technologies until the 9/11 attacks. Today, they continue to grow in ability, prominence and need.

Consumers are becoming increasingly affected by and aware of the threat to their digital identities and this is revealing the challenges faced by traditional login methods. The IBM survey found that 67% of respondents reported that they are comfortable using biometrics as an authentication method online, and 87% said that they will be comfortable using biometrics in the future, presumably as the technology becomes more advanced.

At an operational level, when biometrics are integrated successfully these systems help combat time-theft, discrepancies based on human error and administrative costs stemming from lost or forgotten traditional logins. They also ensure that digital identities cannot be stolen or impersonated. Through the use of this technology companies safeguard a clear audit trail for POS transactions.

And so, we see biometrics emerging as the go-to technology for all digital security needs. This is because there are various avenues for personal information to be stolen with current methods of authentication. Where passwords, PINs and tokens can be abused, forgotten or lost, biometrics cannot. The physical presence of a person cannot be stolen. Biometrics offer fail-safe solutions and save companies millions in revenue every year.

At Delter we know that the biometric revolution is upon us. If you are looking for an innovative technology to increase your digital security that reduces fraud and increases data quality then consider using  the Delfin Biometric Fingerprinting system.