Biometric Multi-factor Authentication (MFA): The Need of The Hour

December 06, 2021

“Biometric Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) is a method of authenticating an individual's identity using two or more factors and authorizing for secure login, transaction or access.“

Data is the new Oil” is an established fact in today’s fast-paced, digital world. The obvious & logical consequence is that the protection of these enormous amount of data, the most valuable asset for any individual, business or government, has become indispensable.

Moreover, in today’s era of digitization, mobile devices & web has become ubiquitous mediums for each of us to avail various services & conducting transactions in multiple forms – most of them are sensitive in nature, requiring authentication of the user’s identity to authorize these transactions or deliver verified services. Especially, post pandemic, the requirement of remote mode of service availing has become more predominant.

The Evolution of Multi-factor Authentication in Biometrics

With the surging volume of online remote transactions & in view of the increasingly sensitive nature of mobile transactions, and in overall, due the advent of more sophisticated methods of hacking, frauds & data theft in online world, the traditional data protection & authentication/authorization mechanisms like Password, PIN, OTP etc. have become inadequate. Data breaches in only the first half of 2021 have exposed over 18.8 billion records and these in turn gives rise to Identity Theft, bringing significant financial & security risk for individuals, businesses & governments.

The scale of fraud and breach in modern day world is shocking. In 2020 alone, according to US Federal Trade Commission CSN report, 1.4 million cases of identity thefts were reported in the US, a 29% surge compared to 2019, predominantly on account of post-pandemic consumer behavior shift to increased digital adoption. Total losses due to identity frauds was estimated to be a humongous USD 43 billion in 2020, in Javelin Strategy report.

Biometrics: An increasingly popular mode for Identity Authentication

Biometric authentication, over the years, has become one of the proven & reliable method to combat identity thefts. As a technology innovation domain, biometrics has matured from fingerprint to voice print to face recognition and then into many other factors like eye recognition, palm recognition etc., especially in conjunction with Artificial Intelligence & Deep learning – But is the current format of biometric identity authentication through mobile device robust? Does only selfie check assure 100% guarantee in any transaction – the answer is negative.

Single factor Biometric authentication always leaves some possibility of error & tampering, because of the unavoidable environmental factors or, system inaccuracy. This is where multi-Factor biometric authentication (MFBA) comes in relevance. Multi-Factor Biometrics add additional layers of authentications to make the system accurate, robust & tamperproof. Moreover, the use of AI makes the biometric engines even smarter - the AI assesses and weighs individual factors about the login attempt to come up with a risk score for the scenario.

On top of classical biometrics, the newer progress has happened in the area of behavioral biometrics & soft biometrics too such as, key-stroke pattern, typing style, gait pattern and many more & combining AI with Biometrics to make it more efficient. But these individual authentication factor standalones are still unable to guarantee 100% accurate identification & hence Multi-Factor Biometrics is key for widespread adoption of Biometrics in real world use case scenarios.

The three most common types of identity theft are financial, medical and online. These can have major impact on individual user’s safety, national security & businesses’ performance, reputation and bottom line. In March 2021, during a survey with Microsoft engineers it was estimated that 99.9% of the account compromise incidents they deal with could have been blocked by a biometric multi-factor authentication (MFA) solution.

Read Must: Biocube Adds Desktop/ Laptop Based Interoperable Bio-Auth In Its Multi-Factor, Multi-Modal Authentication Suite In PM-DAKSH

Key challenges in Multi-Factor authentication in Biometrics

The main barrier to widespread adoption of biometric multi-factor is the cost & deployment. Traditionally biometric solutions have always been dependent on specialized hardware and highly capex intensive. To have MFA, businesses are required to deploy multiple types of devices (Face scanner, Eye scanner, Palm scanner etc.) at each transaction point– it is simply an impossible task & a non-viable business case scenario.

One other problem in adoption of Multi-factor biometrics in today’s SaaS driven world is that, biometrics sensor available to consumers on their smartphone platform is only for Face or sometime for Fingerprint, and that too not a fully commercial grade biometrics. Hence, a comprehensive platform on smartphone supporting truly multi-factor biometrics is a critical need of the hour.

Read Also: Adding Voice to Facial Recognition Can Help In Finding Important Details In Child Abuse Videos

Multi-Factor Biometrics on Mobile platform – A Futuristic Technology Field

Multi-factor bio-auth on mobile makes it extremely useful for consumers as well as for enterprise users in the current trend of increasingly work out of office, remote online shopping, contactless banking/trading & multiple other day-to-day scenarios.

It is one of the key pillars for assuring a fraud-free & verified business environment, as well as in guaranteeing a enhanced User Experience, in most consumer markets, gig economies and sectors such as banking, insurance, trading etc.

For example, you are sending money to someone using a mobile banking app. In today’s scenario you will receive an OTP & can complete the transaction successfully. However, this does not guarantee whether it was you, who was actually doing the transaction. Any person in possession of your mobile can do this easily. Even with the increasing trend of hacking, fraudsters are taking control of your mobile remotely & doing the transactions on your behalf. Hence, it is mandatory to verify User’s real identity, not just the device or, network verification. Multi-factor Biometrics can do that with 100% guarantee – it gives randomized challenge to user to authenticate their identity through their own biometrics.

MFA can also be used to authenticate citizens in various other scenarios – such as, in border crossing & immigration, for hospitals to confirm the patient’s identity and access to the right medical information, seamless onboarding & content consumption in e-learning or OTT platform, smooth check-in processes in travel or hospitality industry, workforce & visitor management for corporates and many more. Multifactor biometric solution can be a key for governments & businesses to ensure that users’ data does not get compromised.

There are multiple additional advantages to using Multi-factor biometrics apart from the obvious fact that Multi-factor ensures enhanced security & system accuracy. Single factor of biometrics may not always be useful, in terms of real use case scenario.

For an example, if only fingerprint based solution is implemented somewhere, it would be a big challenge for the laborers, famers, miners, whose hands are scarred & bruised and fingerprints are faded due to hard work. Multi-factor Biometrics provide wide range of applicability in any use case.

Multi-Factor Authentication: Download Blog PDF's Here!

BIOCUBE’s Unique Multi-Factor Biometric based Identity Platform

Biocube has built world’s most unique, a proprietary (patent-filed) Biometric multifactor-multimodal authentication platform available on smartphones, and a whole range of other devices ranging from Tablets, Laptops, IP Cameras, thus reducing the cost of technology adoption and ensuring user convenience & security with assured RoI.

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