Passwords have long been at the forefront of computer security, since the very beginning in fact, but as technology advances, then so should the security protecting it. It has long been touted as the successor with biometrics to replace passwords, but is it more secure? The problem with passwords is that it is simply just a chain of characters, either numbers or letters, with more complicated passwords being harder to break, but also unfortunately harder to remember.
Security experts have long tried thinking of an alternative, as many hacking cases are simply down to easy to crack passwords, and the latest have been biometrics. By using physical characteristics such as fingerprints, iris pattern and even heartbeat, which are incredibly difficult for someone to replicate, the positives seem to overwhelm the negatives, but do they really? Whilst a hacker is no longer able to simply break a password by brute force, it is at least possible to change your password if it becomes compromised. But what happens if the hacker gets hold of your fingerprints? Which is exactly what happened when someone demonstrated how easy it was after lifting someones fingerprint profile from a high quality photograph.
With passwords being so vulnerable, and the hackers becoming more sophisticated, surely something as unique and completely independent of having to be remembered is a great step forward. According to Biometrics Research Group, 650million people will be using biometrics as a means of security on their mobile devices by the end of this year. Apple introduced fingerprint recognition on their iPhone 5S in 2013, which has been adopted by many manufacturers and will more than likely increase. Even on Windows 10, biometrics have been incorporated by the operating system.
The arguments against the reliance of biometrics are that as this data will have to be stored somewhere, the unique pattern of a fingerprint or iris, then if that database was to be compromised, then the fallout will be much worse than simply a stolen password. Until a balance has been struck, finding the perfect failsafe protection that is both not reliant on memory or devastating when stolen, biometrics will continue to phase out the password.
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