Your Five Minute Biometric Briefing This Week

Facial recognition

Biometric technologies are constantly evolving as we seek out newer and better ways to secure our digital world.

We’ve seen a few interesting highlights from the past seven days that can help keep you up to speed.

1.) HSBC Introduces Facial Recognition to Mobile Banking App in China

Facial recognition continues to gain momentum with the news that HSBC has launched facial recognition abilities in their mobile banking app for the Chinese market.

A recent study by HSBC found that almost half of Chinese respondents were receptive to facial recognition, a significant 16% above the global average.

B-Secur Insight: “HSBC has done their homework with market research so this sounds like a smart move. It will be interesting to see whether this will push adoption rates globally.”

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2) Authentication: Security vs Usability vs Consumer Attitude

A new feature on CSO Online takes an in-depth look at what it describes as the ‘tripartite of consumer authentication’.

It describes the thorny issue of authentication as being built upon three main points:

  • Security
  • Usability
  • Consumer attitude

B-Secur Insight: “This is a great framework from which to examine the question of authentication. We’d like to think that ECG authentication could offer great strides in security and usability, but the issue of consumer trust around the collection of biometric data is always a sensitive one.”

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3) Hamad International Airport to Trial Biometric Passenger Processing

Biometric air travel is a growing market, so it wasn’t a surprise to learn this week that an airport in Qatar is to trial biometric passenger screening and processing.

The trial will be conducted in by Hamar International Airport in partnership with SITA, the world’s leading specialist in air transport communications and information technology, and will use biometric sensors to bolster security and deliver a seamless end-to-end journey through the airport.

B-Secur Insight: With concerns around physical safety making the news headlines, it’s only a matter of time before biometric technologies are widely adopted across these types of public spaces.

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4) Yahoo Cyber Hack Bigger Than We Thought

We learned more details about Yahoo’s 2013 data breach this week, with the rather alarming news that three billion accounts were affected at the time – its entire database.

The compromised information includes usernames, telephone numbers and dates of birth.

B-Secur Insight: “It’s not only the scale of this breach which makes it so concerning but the fact that Yahoo needed an external forensic partner to help identify the size of the problem. Biometric authentication could be an important way to protect critical systems and services.”

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5) Facebook Tests Biometric Account Recovery Feature

Facebook has confirmed it is testing facial recognition as an account recovery option – a surprising move given the legal trouble Facebook previously found itself using facial recognition.

Facebook described the move as “another step, alongside two-factor authentication via SMS, that were taking to make sure account owners can confirm their identity.”

B-Secur Insight: “This is really no surprise, given that Facebook has experimented with facial recognition in the past. Two factor authentication is a powerful security model and facial recognition is growing in popularity, so this seems a natural development – the real challenge is will users trust Facebook with their biometric data?”

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