According to Patrick Moorhead, Principal Analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, security has become one of the “biggest issues” in today’s technologically-connected society.
“We use mobile devices to transfer money, pay bills and even to share our health information. Nevertheless, most users don’t want to spend a great deal of time thinking about the security of their device. They expect security to be seamlessly integrated into any technology they use,” he explains.
“As a result, leading mobile device manufacturers are beginning to integrate security features, such as two-factor biometric authentication to make devices more secure for their users.”
As Moorhead points out, biometric security has already changed the experience and daily life of the mobile user, with fingerprint technology now seamlessly integrated into mobile payments and services. Meanwhile, iris scanning has continued to gain popularity, with the technology expected to grow by more than 20% between 2016 and 2020. To be sure, the complex human iris is difficult to replicate precisely. In fact, accurate iris scanning can recognize 266 unique traits.
“Because iris scanning only requires a user to look at the device, it’s also simple and user friendly,” he adds. “While biometric authentication helps improve device security, it also helps improve usability by decreasing the time to unlock and helping to eliminate passwords.”
Indeed, as Dr. Vinod Chandran of the Queensland University of Technology confirms, iris recognition is the “best-performing” biometric scan that can be executed in real time.
“Speed-wise, fingerprint scanners work at the same rate but security-wise there’s a big difference between fingerprints and iris scans,” he states. “With fingerprints, there’s about a 1 in 1000 chance of a duplication. With the iris, it’s about 1 in 100,000 or even one in a million. The iris has a very different type of texture and pattern [so] spoofing it is very difficult.”
So, what’s next for mobile biometric security? Looking beyond devices, a team of University of Washington computer scientists and electrical engineers recently devised a method of sending secure passwords through the human body. The system uses benign, low-frequency transmissions generated by fingerprint sensors and touchpads on mobile devices, offering a more secure way of transmitting authenticating information between wearables and other devices.
Clearly, biometric authentication is steadily evolving to meet industry expectations for quick, effortless and secure mobile payment transactions. Nevertheless, consumers require assurances that their mobile payment information will remain secure. Similarly, stores and financial institutions need to be confident that the technology behind mobile payments is secure and easy-to-use before it can be truly embraced. As such, mass adoption of mobile payments will only be achieved when there is a single, unified platform built on an economy of digital trust that ensures an uninterrupted physical to digital experience.
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