Beyond Passwords: Multi-Factor Authentication and Biometric Solutions

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September 1, 2023
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Password protected. Please enter your username and password. Forgotten password? Reset Password. Never share your password with anyone. Your password is not recognized. Anyone with a login will have seen on, many, most or all of these. Repeatedly and sometimes infuriatingly. Passwords are often open to being breached, stolen, copied, or abused, making it even more frustrating. But as technology progresses and encryption, and cyber protection becomes more layered, authentication using only password is not necessarily as popular as it once was. It’s still there though, still needed, still vulnerable, still open to abuse. 

Then again, passwords are still the predominant process we must undertake to login online and remain one of the most used authentications in cyberspace. With the emergence and continued growth of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), consumers and online customers can expect, at least theoretically, more security. As an increasing numbers of our social, personal, leisure, business and financial transactions and activities are done online, with each requiring password protected access, the issue of password vulnerability and MFA becomes more urgent, pressing, and even concerning. 

Faces, Fingerprints, Voices: Biometrics Are Becoming Bigger, But Are They Better? 

For the past few years, as I arrived back at Heathrow Airport, I have enjoyed the benefits of biometric identification and personal identity authentication. It’s been available to me at other international airports too. And I love it. It seems to be becoming more and more common, too. But does this system, like password authentications which are open to hacking and manipulation, have its flaws as well as its strengths? The answer is most likely yes. To put it simply, no security or online authentication is 100% free from cybersecurity threats or attacks. 

So as biometrics become more popular, preferred, and prolific in usage, does this make them better than passwords. For most people, their identity is something they want, wish, and expect to be able to protect. After all, a face ID or fingerprint access can represent many things and be the gatekeeper and key to gaining personal information: who we are, where we are from, how much money we have in the bank, where we are travelling, where we live, and so much more. As such, our identity is a de facto profile of who we are and how we use our online access. It’s the key to identity theft too, making it as valuable as it is personal. Hence companies are vying to woo consumers with the best online cybersecurity on offer. 

With cutting edge cybersecurity technologies evolving and as more governments, corporations, entities, and institutions use biometrics as their primary authentication tool, it does seem to be an ever more reliable system and process. On the plus side, a face is unique, as is a fingerprint. However quirky or unexpected a password may be, it can, potentially, be copied or stolen. With biometrics, at least this cannot be said to be a real and present danger. And you can’t forget or lose a face or fingerprint, as it were, unlike you can a password. Advantage biometrics, to use a tennis term if I may. 

Technology Treasure Trove: Why Online Identity Protection Is Now Such Big Business

Feeling secure while making an online transaction is paramount. It is something consumers demand and, without exception, has come to be seen as standard. When it comes down to it, cybersecurity companies are in febrile competition to ensure they offer the highest levels of protection. From MFA to password only authentication, biometrics such as facial recognition, fingerprints or the increasingly used voice recognition, tech firms are looking for the most unbreachable options. 

All this, of course, to protect, preserve and fortify the treasure trove of personal information that is behind all this. So, as we lurch, lean and head towards the close of this article, what conclusions can be reached or suggested? One thing we know, definitively, is that cybersecurity, specifically surrounding the online authentication process, is big business and growing exponentially. Some online merchants and platforms continue with password protection only, but fewer and fewer are taking this approach. 

As we have asserted, this can be perhaps the most vulnerable method of online security, especially as MFA, including CAPTCHA and even biometric combinations are multi-layered and, by definition, more secure. As we have also tabled, there are pros and cons to biometrics and MFA too, but I would argue they are far more advanced, shielded, and secure when it comes to personal identification as well as secure online authentication. Agree or disagree, contest, or concur, it’s up to you. One thing we can arrive at as a fundamental point of accord and consensus is that cybersecurity is critical, in whatever form it may be. 

Noor Khan

Noor Khan

Author

My name is Noor, and I am a seasoned entrepreneur focused on the area of artificial intelligence. As a robotics and cyber security researcher, I love to share my knowledge with the community around me.

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