classic | mobile
Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook  Share via Twitter  Share via LinkedIn

Hi-Tech Security Solutions Business Directory

Biometrics is inevitable
September 2010, Access Control & Identity Management

The uptake of biometric identification in the financial world may take time, but it is sure to happen.

The uptake of biometric identification in the financial world may take time, but it is sure to happen.

There are many myths surrounding the Knights Templar and their sometimes legendary, sometimes suspect pursuits. The reason the Templars live on in history is that they became rich and powerful by offering what we call banking services to thirteenth-century customers, and the fact of their grisly demise in the early 1300s.

In those days, travelling between towns and countries was a dangerous affair as there were bandits around every corner ready to carry your valuables away. The Templars allowed travellers to deposit their ‘stuff’ at one monastery and collect the amount from another monastery after showing your proof of deposit – minus a small fee, of course.

Not much has changed. Today’s bandits are still around every corner and inside our financial houses, which still consider their fees small. And while there are many more outlets, from banks themselves, ATMs, credit and debit cards, and the Internet to choose from; the idea is that if you can offer some proof that you are a certain person you can help yourself to that individual’s money.

Things have changed in that criminals today have a broader range of tools and technologies to choose from when helping themselves to other people’s money. In fact, you can steal identities and raid bank accounts from the safety of your computer thousands of kilometres away. Unfortunately, many problems with identity theft and fraud happen in financial companies, perpetrated by the people who work there.

Of course banks try to curb internal crime by trying to ensure only the right people have access and authority to conduct specific transactions and access certain areas and information. Unfortunately, this is normally accomplished using identity cards and, for very secure processes, a combination of cards and PINs or passwords.

Marius Coetzee, COO of Ideco Biometric Security Solutions, is adamant that the use of cards and PINs is an inherently faulty process as they can be shared, copied and stolen. Few employees would consider it fraud to lend their card or access code to someone popping out for lunch. Not much damage in that? One local bank recently paid a R2,5 million price through passwords being shared.

“Using biometric identification is a non-repudiable process that links one identity to whatever business process the person associated with that identity is doing,” Coetzee explains. “You cannot lend your fingerprint, and it cannot be stolen and used without you noticing. So, when a biometric is used to authorise a transaction, that evidence will stand up in court; a lost card or forgotten password will not.

“We will see the use of biometrics increasing in the financial world over the next decade, eventually replacing insecure cards and PINs completely. This will not only happen for financial staff, but the physical and logical transactions of customers as well. Someone can easily steal your card and observe your PIN, but faking a fingerprint or iris is not that easy.”

To ensure security, there are processes surrounding biometrics that must be adhered to in order to ensure biometrics is 100% reliable. The products used must be proven to be reliable and secure, while being easy to use – you do not want people scanning their fingers four or five times before being recognised.

Additionally, the question of interoperability is also crucial. If a customer’s biometric works at one bank’s ATMs, for example, it must work at ATMs from all banks. This means that vested interests need to be put aside and the standards that already exist in the market must be accepted and implemented by all. There will still be brand and application flexibility, but within globally accepted standards.

Coetzee notes that globally accepted and proven standards are also crucial when it comes to privacy concerns in biometrics. All organisations will be happy to have a foolproof method of identifying people, but they need to ensure that their customers can be securely identified in multiple situations without exposing their private details. “This is not all that difficult; it simply means the financial institutions need to be careful in implementing their identification processes.”

The bottom line is that mindsets need to change if an effective identity chain is to be developed. This is not an access control solution that is expanded to include logical sign-on, but an holistic solution covering the enterprise and beyond. There may be resistance from many quarters that will lengthen the process, but to put a barrier between criminals and their targets biometrics is inevitable.

Supplied By: Technews Publishing
Tel: +27 11 543 5800
Fax: +27 11 787 8052
  Share via Twitter   Share via LinkedIn      

Further reading:

  • The changing world of access
    November 2015, neaMetrics, Powell Tronics, Impro Technologies, Access Control & Identity Management
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked a few people who should be in the know for their take on the future of the access control market.
  • The future is here
    November 2015, Suprema, Access Control & Identity Management
    Evolutions in the field of mobile, Internet of Things and cloud computing as well as integration of such technologies have led a shift towards a new technology paradigm.
  • Protecting the Wiegand protocol from attack
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management, Information Security
    In these attacks, a credential’s identifier is cloned, or captured, and is then retransmitted via a small electronic device to grant unauthorised access to an office or other facility.
  • Start with risk, not technology
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management, Security Services & Risk Management
    This article looks to avoid the usual technological rhetoric approach and provide end users with a list of performance-based requirements that will leave the responsibility of providing the correct access solution with the system provider.
  • Global identity concerns
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management
    Sanjay Dharwadker applies many years of experience in the security field to ask if security is a cultural and civilisational construct?
  • From drawbridge to biometrics
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management
    The access control industry may just be a lot older than we believe.
  • Global access control standards
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management
    ONVIF publishes release candidate for Profile A, enabling advanced access control configuration.
  • Why integrate physical and logical security?
    November 2015, Access Control & Identity Management, Enterprise Solutions
    Despite the fact that physical and logical security depend on each other, it is surprising to find that a number of companies still treat them as separate systems.
  • Increasing protection through multi-factor authentication
    November 2015, Virdi Distribution SA, Reditron, Elvey Security Technologies, Access Control & Identity Management
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asks how necessary and successful mutli-factor authentication is at improving security.
  • Multi-factor improves security and convenience
    November 2015, HID Global, Access Control & Identity Management
    An effective strong authentication solution must be able to add security without adding significant costs or complexity.
  • A reader alone doesn’t cut it anymore
    November 2015, Suprema, ZKTeco, Access Control & Identity Management
    Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked ZKTeco and Suprema how the functionality of ­readers is expanding to integrate more business functionality than merely access control.
  • Faster, easier, cheaper and more reliable than ever
    November 2015, iPulse Systems, Suprema, Virdi Distribution SA, ZKTeco, Morpho South Africa, This Week's Editor's Pick, Access Control & Identity Management
    To find out more about the state of biometrics and for a glimpse into the near future, Hi-Tech Security Solutions asked a few experts for their take on this thriving industry.

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronic Buyers Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory (HSBD)

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual
    Mobile | Classic

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.