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Employment Of Biometric Authentication Has Exploded Due to Sharp Rise In Ransomware Attacks

Written by Ricardo Amper, CEO & Co-Founder, Incode

During the past 3 years, ransomware attacks have nearly doubled, costing businesses in both productivity and money. In fact, experts are estimating that it will cost the world $10.5 trillion by 2025 and continue to increase by 15% each year.

With cybercriminals using increasingly sophisticated methods to access an organisation’s most sensitive data, traditional methods of security, such as passwords, are no longer effective. In the search for improving security, IT officers are looking to biometric solutions as the key to keeping data out of the wrong hands.

 

The Rise of Cybercrime

Since the Covid-19 Pandemic, more businesses are offering their employees the opportunity to work remotely. While this provides employees a higher level of convenience, it also exposes the business to additional vulnerabilities, including ransomware attacks, which have grown rapidly in numbers and intensity since the pandemic.

In 2020, the year of lockdowns and remote working, ransomware victims in the US alone paid out almost $350 million – an increase of 311% from 2019 – according to the Institute for Security and Technology.

Company networks are built with much stronger protections in place than the general consumer wifi network, and they typically only allow trusted devices to connect. Working on a device outside the secure perimeter of corporate networks effectively opens entry points for cybercriminals to access a business’ private network.

The move to remote work has also sparked a rise in the number of ransomware attacks as a result of phishing links. Employees are now more accustomed to communicating via email, and so less cautious about performing a task they have received in an unknowingly fake email.

 

GetApp’s 2022 Data Security Report revealed that the number of companies reporting phishing has leaped from 79% to 89% in the last 3 years. The rate of employees clicking on phishing links has increased 88% in that same period.

Phishing links are the most common cause of ransomware attacks and a much easier method than hacking into an IT System. While it’s a promising sight to see that more businesses are finding ways to evade paying the ransom, attacks still end up costing businesses large sums of money despite whether they pay the ransom or not.

Often, the most consequential impact of these attacks is the loss of productivity. The report reveals 42% of victims are locked out of their systems for six to 24 hours.

Businesses are now entirely aware of the threat that ransomware poses. To protect their data against bad actors, conventional forms of security are no longer adequate.

 

Biometric Authentication as a Tool Against Cybercrime

Modern cybersecurity is focused on reducing the risks of threat actors infiltrating private cyberspace and accessing sensitive data. Biometrics aims to respond to this issue by linking identity verification to our physical characteristics. Biometric data, such as facial features, fingerprints, and voice, are unique and serve to differentiate us, offering a higher level of security as it is incredibly challenging to steal or fake. It also provides authorised users the ease and convenience of not having to remember or reset long, complicated passwords.

Biometrics as a method of authentication are also being used in combination with passwords or pin numbers to provide an additional layer of protection. With biometrics as the gold standard for identity proofing and secure authentication, it is no surprise that its use has exploded in the recent years.

The global biometrics market is expected to reach $136.18 billion by 2031 thanks to 13.3% compound annual growth, as forecasted by Transparency Market Research. Historically, the core market of biometrics has been law enforcement. However, the rapid growth is anticipated to be driven by the expansion of biometrics as a method of authentication within the retail, healthcare, finance, insurance, and fintech sectors.

From 2019 to 2022, the implementation of biometric authentication in US businesses has nearly tripled from 27% to 79%. As corporations become more accustomed to using biometrics as a form of identity proofing, it is expected that they will assimilate the technology to allow a continuous biometric authentication experience across all their platforms and services.

 

Advice for Businesses

Biometric authentication software has many benefits that corporations are only just beginning to fully appreciate. Yet, some uncertainty about its use still prevails due to common misconceptions around identity proofing, such as the following:

  • Identity software is always watching: Some people are concerned about their biometric data collected by companies being used for surveillance purposes. However, the data is carefully regulated, and governments do not have access to companies’ private databases.
  • Personal information is less secure when it’s digital: Physical ID offers a much lower level of security because of how easily it can be lost or stolen. Whereas, digital data is stored behind several layers of security, and neither can it be lost or forgotten.
  • Authentication means accessing and saving all associated data: Some people fear that authentication software will reveal all their data. In reality, when your information is verified, only the relevant apps can see information related to the interaction. Digital identity proofing software also makes it easier to control which applications have access to which data.

 Identity proofing and authentication using biometrics is very important to get right, and businesses must be careful about which software platform they choose. When deciding which software to use, it is crucial to take into consideration:

  1. Observance of the law: The software must have protocols and guidelines strictly attached to the data protection of users, who must invariably consent to the use of their information only for the required purposes.
  2. Privacy and security of personal data: The software must comply with the uppermost security and encryption standards to avoid any kind of hacking, vulnerability or improper use of the information by third parties.
  3. Passive liveness detection: The software must guarantee the authentication of persons to a high degree of accuracy, speed, and reliability, preventing any possible impersonation using photographs, holograms or inanimate images for verification.
  4. Artificial Intelligence (AI): Using automated information processing without human intervention ensures there is no influence of human biases, beliefs or customs. This also adds to the efficiency, optimisation, and speed of the process.

Finding software that complies with the above four requirements will ensure a business is adequately protected from data breaches. It will also generate trust among users and create frictionless customer experiences. By adopting biometric solutions now, businesses can move to a more resilient future.