Dara Security

Biometrics Authentication and Passwords

April 24, 2014

Identity authentication has traditionally been accomplished via passwords. However, users do not always comply with suggested best practices for password creation and management, leaving devices and personal information at risk. With cyber crime incidents on the rise, a variety of biometric authentication methods have emerged to replace the password.

Laptops have implemented fingerprint scanners for quite some time now, with recent smartphone models offering this technology as well. Other smartphones employ face recognition as an alternative to entering a passcode to unlock the device. Iris scanning is used by the United Arab Emirates (IrisGuard) at border crossing points and by Google for secure entry into their data centers. Ear biometric authentication is used by Descartes Biometrics in their Ergo Android app which allows users to unlock their devices by pressing their ear to their smartphones. Cardiac rhythm detection is used in the world's first wearable identity authentication device, the Nymi bracelet made by Bionym.

Although some of these biometric authentication technologies are already being used in place of a password, some biometric methods still need further refining and user buy-in before they completely replace password entry. With cyber crime increasing, it just makes sense to employ an identity authentication method that is more difficult for a hacker to steal or reproduce. A hacker may be able to crack a password, but a hacker would have a tough time reproducing an exact iris scan, ear map, or heartbeat.