According to a report by Acuity Market Intelligence—2017's "Ten Top Trends for Biometrics and Digital Identity"—Acuity predicted 2017 would be the "breakout" year for biometrics technology.

Similarly, the Mercator Advisory Group published a new report entitled "Biometrics: A New Wrinkle Changes the Authentication Landscape." Tim Sloane, author of the report and Vice President of Payments Innovation at Mercator, observed that "behavioral dynamics will play an increasingly important factor in establishing trust factors for the authenticating consumers’ identity across every channel and for establishing persistent identity."

While behavioral biometrics has been in use for several years, there are a number of recent factors that have helped the technology come of age and set up 2017 as a breakout year.


Technological Improvements

One of the big factors helping behavioral biometrics come of age is the underlying technology. In years past, expensive hardware was often required to enable more secure means of authorization. In this day and age, when hardware evolves and becomes outdated at a breakneck pace, relying on a hardware-based solution for security can be an expensive proposition for even the largest corporation.

In the above report by Mercator Advisory Group, Mr. Sloane said that "the introduction of new authentication factors, new secure mobile platforms, and software and cloud-based authentication mechanisms; it will be extremely risky for banks to make an investment decision that includes hardware and requires five-plus years to achieve a positive return on investment.”

In contrast, with modern behavioral biometrics being provided as a software solution, a company's investment is much lower. A software-based solution also provides a much more agile option, both in terms of the number of platforms it can be deployed on and the speed with which it can be updated and improved.


Awareness Changes

Another significant boon to behavioral biometrics is an improved understanding among consumers of how vulnerable passwords are and where today’s cyberthreats are coming from.

For years, efforts have been made to get consumers to increase the length and complexity of their passwords, even requiring passwords to meet minimum requirements. Such efforts have reached the point that many individuals rely on third-party password managers because they can no longer remember the litany of complex passwords they use. In spite of these efforts, recent disclosures of data breaches at Yahoo illustrate how vulnerable passwords are. No matter how secure and complex a password the end-user creates, it can be rendered useless in an instant if the database containing that password is compromised.

Second, is the growing realization that most of the fraud today comes from authenticated sessions. So despite the security or (in)security of the password, the real issue is that sophisticated fraudsters have figured out how to bypass traditional authentication mechanisms, whether they are passwords, PINs, tokens, SMS codes, even physical biometrics for logon. With social engineering, malware and account takeover types of attacks, are driving the need for continuous authentication methods that are seamless, passive and that work in the background, requiring no changes in the user experience.

This fundamental realization is driving—and will continue to drive—corporations and consumers alike to use technologies that offer greater protection and improved ease-of-use over traditional fraud prevention methods.


Successful Rollouts of Behavioral Biometrics

Successful rollouts of behavioral biometrics among major organizations is another significant factor in the technology's widespread adoption.

With organizations such as UK-based bank NatWest deploying behavioral biometrics and being able to testify to its success in stopping fraud and being consumer friendly, more and more companies are taking note and realizing what the technology can offer them and their customers.

Without a doubt, behavioral biometrics has come of age. In an era where companies like Yahoo are getting hacked and losing hundreds of millions of passwords, ransomware is headlining major television shows like NCIS, and traditional security measures are not keeping pace, behavioral biometrics is standing out as the next generation security option. It offers a level of security and convenience traditional methods cannot match and is poised for a breakout year.

To learn more, download our latest white paper, "Global Trends in Online Fraud."


More from our blog:

What is Behavioral Biometrics Anyway…?

Global Trends in Online Fraud: 2016 Year in Review and What to Expect From 2017



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