Is It Time To Say 'Goodbye' To Passwords?

by CXOtoday News Desk    Jan 17, 2018


The long forecasted death of the password may soon see the light of the day in India, as  consumers continue to have a strong interest in new biometric technologies that make their lives easier and may say ‘goodbye’ to the old school security system. A new survey by digital payments major Visa that conducted a survey on Indians exploring awareness and perceptions of biometric authentication New forms of authentication, such as fingerprint, facial, and voice recognition, can make unlocking accounts and payments much easier and more convenient than traditional passwords or PINs - which are difficult to type onto tiny keyboards, easy to forget, and can be stolen.

“The payments ecosystem is witnessing a rapid change in adoption of new form factors of payments and modes of authentication. For financial institutions, the time has never been better to integrate biometric technology into banking apps and payments experiences for customers,” said TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager, Visa, India & South Asia, Visa.

“We are excited with the increased popularity of biometrics across Indian consumers.  Today smartphones have advanced features increasing the accuracy and speed of biometrics, such that they can be used for financial transactions. Indian consumers too have discovered the ease of biometric authentication and are open to using this technology for transactions going forward, which augurs well for the Indian payments industry.”

A number of tech organizations are stepping up their efforts to put an end to the password, thanks to the rise of Biometric data that is increasingly being used to replace passwords. The passwords people use are often weak and security gets compromised. In contrast, biometric information is authenticated on the device itself and unlike passwords, it is not stored on a remote server.

There are several other ways organizations are killing password, Selfie of course is a more popular concept that’s being experimented with by quite a few companies. The device takes a photo of your face, and using facial recognition, checks to see if you’re authorized to access it. Android smartphones can be set to unlock when they recognise your face, Apple has previously been granted a patent for a similar idea, and Mastercard lets customers use facial biometrics to authenticate payments. And that’s just a handful of examples — there are plenty of others out there.

Some companies are exploring wearable tech as a way to unlock user devices. This functionality is already built into the Apple Watch and has a long way to go. An increasing number of companies are also using voice recognition software as an alternative way to authenticate their customers. 

According to a blog post from the company’s identity division, users no longer require to follow the usual password-based login setup. Microsoft’s Authenticator app now allows you to skip through the password entry entirely.

Microsoft’s phone sign-in works similarly to Google’s sign-in prompts in that it uses a mobile app - available for iOS, Android and Windows Phone - to confirm your identity, but you’ll never actually need to type a password when signing on to Microsoft services. Once you’ve set up your Microsoft Account in the app, you can enable phone sign-in through the settings menu. 

According to the Visa study conducted of 500 Indians by AYTM Market Research, 99% are personally interested in using at least one biometric method to verify their identity, and 99% are interested in using at least one biometric method to make payments.  Higher income consumers are more interested than lower income consumers in facial recognition. Younger consumers (36 and under) are more interested than older consumers in vein pattern recognition. Findings from the survey illustrate consumers’ desire to see the implementation of biometric tools in payment authentication processes.

Highlights from the survey include:

-  Consumers were most familiar with fingerprint recognition, with 32 percent having used it once or twice and another 63 percent using it regularly. By comparison, about 48 percent have used voice recognition in the past and 26 percent use it regularly.

- The top benefits associated with using biometric authentication for payments are the perception that it is more secure than passwords/PINs (48%) and that it gives consumers peace of mind that their payment is protected (46%).

- Indian consumers overwhelmingly perceive that biometrics are faster (81%) and easier (84%) than passwords.

- Fifty one percent are concerned both about the risk of a security breach of sensitive biometric information.

While biometrics, including fingerprints, face, iris, palm and speech-recognition, will continue to grow as a more secure substitute for passwords, they will not render passwords obsolete, according to Yole market and technology analyst Guillaume Girardin.

Fingerprint and facial recognition together will probably be the first combination that could replace passwords in some applications, Girardin said in an article on EETimes, as currently, neither consumers nor businesses think of passwords as the ultimate guarantee for keeping information and accounts private and secure. But he predicts it will be 2030 by the time multi-modal biometric recognition will become completed accepted.