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Beyond passwords with biometric technology

Maria Korolov | Feb. 3, 2015
Tired of having hackers guess your password in three tries and break into your most critical systems?

Tired of having hackers guess your password in three tries and break into your most critical systems?

Well, first, stop using "password" as your password.

Then, consider investing in some alternate means of authentication. Biometric technologies can supplement or even replace passwords entirely when used in conjunction with a password management program.

The following biometrics vendors, for example, can turn almost any physical aspect of your body into an authentication mechanism.

Most are also members of the FIDO Alliance, a standards body for authentication technologies.

Heartbeat

According to the folks behind the Nymi Band, your heart has a unique signature — the ECG wave has a special shape that identifies you as you.

The signature is measured by the wrist band, which then uses Bluetooth to authenticate you to other devices.

As long as you're not too excited or relaxed when you put it on, that is.

It works in conjunction with a partner app on your computer or mobile device, and could be used, say, to unlock your smartphone without having to type in a password. Or for any other purpose that requires confirmation of your identity. For example, they recently announced a pilot payments project with the Royal Bank of Canada and Mastercard.

Iris

The EyeLock Myris collects 240 points of data on your iris, which, the company says, results in a false positive rate of 1 in 1.5 million.

They claim more than 3 million transactions over the past two years, in sectors such as security, border control, government and the financial services.

You plug the device into your USB port, connect sites and applications to the Myris app, and then just look into the device to log in, the same way you would look into a hand mirror.

Sclera

Sclera, or the white part of your eyeball, gets all the attention with the EyeVerify. You pick up your smartphone and take a selfie. The EyeVerify app looks at the blood vessels in your eyes to confirm your identity.

And you're in.

There are free demo apps on the iOS and Android app stores, but the company is really focusing on the other side of the authentication mechanism — with the banks and other institutions. According to the company, several banks in Australia are already using it for their employees, and the technology is part of the mobile device management platforms from Good Technology and AirWatch.

Fingerprint

There's a lot happening with fingerprints. Smartphones now include fingerprint readers, as do some laptops and other devices.

There are also a variety of key fobs, dongles, and other peripherals, such as the IDKey from Sonavation and the Yukey from Egistec.

 

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