Why Biometric Identity Theft is More Secure Than You Think

Biometric Security System

Biometrics, the data collected by biometric security and identification devices, is stored either locally on a machine with no connection to the internet or in a database in the cloud. Even if data is stored locally, there is a chance that it could be stolen. This is a growing concern for many people who are looking into the use of biometric fingerprint readers and other devices for better security.

Stealing biometrics is possible and security companies are looking for ways to prevent it. In many ways, it is similar to protecting any other type of data, which is already well established. Still having your biometrics stolen can be a stressful time for you. Before you freak out, here is what you should know about biometric identity theft.

What was Stolen

Understanding biometrics can be confusing for many people, but it is deceptively simple. The data that is included with your biometrics is a combination of whatever factors the device reads and basic information to identify who you are. This set of information can change depending on how your system is setup. For example, a biometric fingerprint reader that stores information locally will likely keep a copy of the biometric data from your finger, your name, and your authorization status (data that says if you are authorized to enter an area).

There is not much to that biometric data in this fingerprint reader. Having that data stolen can be worrying, but you should be able to relax a bit. There is not much information there and using it will be difficult. Many security systems and companies try to limit the amount of data that is accessible by these machines. In doing so, they significantly reduce the potential damage that can be done by hackers.

Using Stolen Biometrics is Difficult

When someone is given biometric access control to something, a limited amount of data is stored. If that data is stolen, it can be a problem. However, that problem may not be as big as you may think. Consider this scenario: a hacker tries to use your stolen biometrics to break into a facility. In this example, the hacker would need a way of creating a fake finger that exactly matches your biometric data. This is highly unlikely, but without more high-level hacking to change how a device works, this is about all that the hacker could do in that situation.

The danger in using stolen biometric data is the auxiliary data that comes with it. If your company allowed scanners to have access to more information than they needed, the hacker may be able to take it and use it for other cybercrimes. However, most companies implement their facial recognition systems so that they do not have widespread access to employee data.

Stealing Data May Not Be Feasible

Another issue around biometric data security that works in your favor is that stealing biometric data may not be feasible in most cases. It largely depends on where the data is stored. Data that is sent to cloud services is more vulnerable. If the device stores that data locally (on the machine itself) then someone would have to connect to the machine manually to take the data, or take the machine itself. Both of these options are unlikely since there is a high chance that someone would be caught.

Cloud systems that are used in security systems are protected with some of the latest technologies and features available. Because of this, it would be difficult for any cybercriminal to access the data without getting caught. All of the precautions in place make it highly unlikely that someone would try to steal biometric data. On top of that, there are limited uses for that data, which makes it a low priority target for cybercrime.

Activity Requirements

Before, we mentioned how the only way that a criminal could use your biometrics is to trick the system into thinking that you are there without any interaction with the device itself. Fortunately, this problem is already being resolved as well.

Newer versions of biometric devices require that someone interacts with the device for it to function. In essence, the device requires proof that someone is alive and near the device for it to take readings. This can be an effective countermeasure since someone cannot hack the device and enter biometric data numerically instead of physically. Technology enhancements like this are still being developed and integrated into new systems, so we should continue to see some enhancements in the future.

Behavioral Biometrics

Another security feature built into biometrics devices is called behavioral biometrics. When a device can have multiple sensors in it, like a cell phone, behavioral biometrics programs can measure different behavioral patterns and include them in a security check. For example, how people hold devices depends on each person. It is also extremely difficult to copy these behavioral patterns since they rely on minor muscle movements and pressure.

Behavioral biometrics is being used in more devices as they gain the ability to have more sensors in them. For example, cell phones have fingerprint readers, orientation sensors, and can measure grip strength in some cases. Combining the information from these different sensors gives them an impresion of what a user’s hand feels like when they unlock the phone. Criminals may not have the ability to replicate this behavior, making it a very difficult lock to break. Systems like these grow more sophisticated over time as technology and the understanding of how to program them improves.

Improve Security Without a Hassle

While biometrics represent the latest in security systems development, there are still some issues that are being worked out. If you are unsure of the new technology, there are plenty of other technology enhancements happening in the security industry. Take advantage of them to make a better system for your security needs.

At Video and Sound Service, Inc., we can help you develop a security system that can help you with your security concerns. From high-tech surveillance cameras to home installation, our team can help you make a security system that will leave you feeling secure. Call us at (708) 562–6316 to schedule a consultation about your security needs.




Katie Zillmer is a Senior Account Manager at KitelyTech.

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Katie Zillmer is a Senior Account Manager at KitelyTech.

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