Our modern technology has continued to advance increasingly as the years go by, as have the methods used for the security of that technology.  From passwords to voice recognition, security implements have come miles from the where it began.  Now, one of the largest methods that has been picking up speed is the use of biometric data in security.

What is Biometric Data?

Biometric data is essentially related to the analysis of biological information, which includes fingerprints, blood samples, iris scans, etc.  All of this is biological data that can be used to identify that someone is who they say they are or who they appear to be.  It can be used to provide privileged access to a certain system or implement.  The way in which biometric data is used for security goes something like this: The person is initially scanned, fingerprinted etc., this information is then stored in a database, and when the person returns and is scanned again, the new data is compared against what is in the database and a match is found or not.  There is a wide variety of biometric information that is particular to an individual that can be used to verify who they are.

While biometric data can be a very secure way to limit access to something, the reality is that it can also be quite invasive to privacy.  Some biometric data is technically collected without the individual even knowing about it.  This most frequently occurs with facial recognition, a technology that has been growing quickly.  Everyone has seen the science fiction movies where people have their faces scanned to open a room, or to access a computer system, and the reality is that we are closer to that than ever.  In fact, this type of technology is already being used by a multitude of organizations to recognize individuals, and for provision of access.  For instance, Facebook’s ability to recognize the faces of those in a photo when it is posted.  When a person puts a picture on Facebook and tags their friends and family in it, this helps Facebook to then on recognize those individuals in photos.  It is a similar situation with Google Photos, where as soon as a person is tagged, Google A.I. then knows that person, and further photos of them will then be associated.

Social media is not the only place where facial recognition is being employed.  In fact, in various parts of the world, there are supermarkets, cruise ships, and ATMs that have been using or recently begun to use facial recognition technologies.  Some U.S. states have begun to employ it for driver’s licenses and IDs.  The Samsung Galaxy 8 and IPhone 8 have both been rumored to have facial recognition software.  And even Uber employs facial recognition in China and India to verify the driver.

When we get to the point of facial recognition becoming increasingly used, it obviously can become an issue of privacy.  A person may not want to have to worry about their facial data being collected or scanned in places they go or systems they use.  Plus, there comes the long term issue of this potentially being used for cyber attacks.  If facial recognition begins to become a security standard, it will result in attackers working to find ways around this, or mimicking it to be able to access systems.  Facial recognition has begun to be so widely used that there are actually companies beginning to create products designed to protect against it, such as glasses, fabrics, and several others.  As this technology continues to grow, it is an issue that many more may become concerned with.  There are some options that an individual can use to avoid this, such as deleting social media accounts, and choosing not to use facial recognition software on phones.  But past that, this is a technology which will continue to grow and become difficult to avoid.

Biometrics and Cyber Intelligence

Cyber intelligence is a critical implementation within organizations these days.   It is used to help businesses proactively and predictively defend from cyber threats.  An interesting comparison to consider is the fact that biometric data has begun to be used in a similar way.  Cyber intelligence is essentially information that is relayed to organizations in regard to the patterns and indicators of threats, which is similar to the way that biometrics can be used.  It is mentioned above that some supermarkets have begun to employ facial recognition.  The way that they do this is that individual’s faces are scanned before they reach the door, and if it recognizes that they are on record for shoplifting, the doors will not open.  This is remarkably similar to the way that cyber intelligence is implemented.