Hazards of Biometric Authentication in Practice

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Samantha Phang, Christopher Pavlovski


With the increase in cyber threats and attacks many institutions are exploring how newer technologies may be applied to strengthen the way users are verified when bestowing permissions for carrying out web transactions. In particular, many institutions are under increasing pressure to improve the security instruments used to authenticate users, while permitting access to their personal records to approve transactions. Whilst multifactor authentication protocols have been adopted to validate more sensitive transactions, this has added an additional physical interaction during the verification process. More recently, the industry has turned its attention to the use of biometric authentication as a way to securely verify user identities. This has reduced the complexity associated with existing authentication processes that require passwords, tokens, and challenge-response keywords. This paper explores these new authentication techniques, discussing the benefits while highlighting the challenges in practice to using biometrics. In particular, identity theft of biometric markers and its potential impact to customers and liability challenges for institutions are presented.

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