MasterCard, Visa Look To Biometrics To Kill The Password
By Kade Hawkins
Did you forget your password this week? If so you are not alone.
The average person now has 26 online accounts and that number is set to grow with nearly one in five people signing up for six or more new accounts per month.
Remembering a huge number of different passwords is simply impossible for most of us and as such some polls are showing most of us are limiting our passwords to no more than five. But using the same password across accounts can leave people exposed to hackers.
Especially when nearly 50% of us use unsafe passwords like notable dates and the names of our pets. Or perhaps you are part of the top 5 passwords of 2014: “123456”, “password”, “12345”, “12345678” and “qwerty” (top letters of the keyboard if you’re wondering what “qwerty” is).
For financial companies, the forgetting of passwords can have a direct impact on their bottom line with the loss of potential revenue.
In a survey conducted by Norstat of over 10,000 people, they found that almost 53% of shoppers forget their passwords once a week causing them to drop the transactions.
Ajay Bhalla, President of enterprise security at MasterCard claims that cumbersome security and the need to remember passwords is actually the biggest hindrance to further growth of e-commerce.
If MasterCard and Visa have their way, passwords could soon be a thing of the past.
The two payment giants have been working on a number of biometric technologies in order to beef up security while making it easier to use.
MasterCard is rolling out its pilot program called the ‘MasterCard Identity Check’ which will allow a selected group of its customers to make purchases online and authenticate them with the help of biometrics alone.
Visa executive director, Jonathan Vaux, credits technology companies (and rivals in mobile payments) Apple and Samsung for bringing biometric technology to the masses.
He said: “Fingerprint biometrics in particular are entering the mainstream as a security measure, with the likes of Apple and Samsung relying on biometric security to enter their phones, and more recently the launch of Touch ID and Apple Pay.”
Most industry experts believe the final solution will involve some kind of combination of biometric authentication. Fingerprint authentication, facial recognition (requiring users to blink once
so that their photos cannot be used to bypass security) and voice recognition are all some of the technologies that are being explored.
This point of view is also endorsed by PayPal, another behemoth in the online payments space. Their technology evangelist, Bill Smith, also credited Apple for incorporating their Touch ID
fingerprint authentication system in their phones as the major cause for all their competitors adopting similar solutions.
As technology trickles down to mid-range and budget phones, the opportunity to kill off the password presents itself like never before.
Forecasts are that by 2020 over $5.6 trillion of payments will be secured by biometric technology.
Cyber financial crime is a multi-million dollar rip-off that everyone who pays, or is paid over the Internet is vulnerable to. The determination of financial institutions to do away with cash is bringing about the Mark Of The Beast system. As more and more people find their bank accounts hacked and robbed, the call for better security gets louder.
The more cynical amongst us might even suspect there to be collusion between the banks and the hackers, or at least the banks allowing the hackers limited success to help the banks achieve their ultimate goal of a biometric implant or tattoo, without which you will not be able to buy or sell.