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Fingerprint, Retina Scans Not Just for James Bond Anymore

Most people using the internet to shop, conduct financial transactions or
read firewall-protected content are likely familiar with the aggravation of
maintaining passwords. Worse yet, tech experts now say conventional password
security is only a marginal defense against hacking.1

We are now entering a new age in
electronic security for the average user — one that more closely resembles James
Bond movies featuring high-tech gadgetry. Biometric coding uses unique physical
traits — such as fingerprints and retina images — to permit access to certain
devices. You may already use FaceID or fingerprint technology to unlock your
smartphone.2

Behavioral biometrics recognizes
unique traits such as your voice, the way you swipe a pen or press a keyboard,
your gait, common gestures, your foot/pressure movement when you drive a car,
etc.3

Biometrics may be easier than
remembering passwords. However, the technology is not without challenges.
Unlike passwords, biometrics are unchangeable. This data is stored for
accessibility, and if hackers breach a cloud storage system that includes
biometric data, they could hack into user accounts.4

In this era of rapidly changing
consumer technology, it’s important to stay on top of your financial data. It
may not be possible to prevent someone from hacking into the company websites
that host your accounts, but you may be able to detect fraudulent acts before they
cause too much damage by regularly checking your account activity.

Here are some of the common ways
fraudsters can hack accounts:

  • A brute force
    attack is when a hacker guesses at possible credentials using a trial-and-error
    system. This can take time, but less so if the hacker has some inkling of your
    data (such as your email address) or personal information (such as the names of
    your children).5
  • A credential
    stuffing attack is when the hacker already has a set of your credentials,
    having purchased or breached a system (hotel or store database) to obtain them.
    Using this data, he or she may be able to hack into other accounts you use,
    such as your bank account.6
  • A dictionary
    attack uses a systematic approach of testing each word in the dictionary as a
    potential password to hack into an account or system.7

In the movie “Skyfall,” James Bond
is tasked with hunting down a genius hacker bent on terrorizing MI6
headquarters. Hollywood’s depictions of cyber hacks are rarely limited by minutiae
such as science and technology — only by the imagination of writers and
directors. In fact, movies often give would-be hackers ideas on how to
infiltrate security systems, which can then lead to life-imitating-art events
in which security technology is beefed up in response to creative breaches.
Films like “Eagle Eye,” “Snowden” and “The Circle” also demonstrate
possibilities associated with artificial intelligence, social media and mass
surveillance.8

Content prepared by Kara Stefan Communications.

1 Kelly Lappin. Security Intelligence. Feb. 18, 2019. “Are
Passwords Killing Your Customer Experience? Try Passwordless Authentication.” https://securityintelligence.com/are-passwords-killing-your-customer-experience-try-passwordless-authentication/. Accessed Aug. 29, 2019,

2 Sam Rutherford. Gizmodo. Aug. 5, 2019. “Touch ID Will
Reportedly Return to iPhones in 2021 With Apple’s New In-Screen Fingerprint
Sensor.” https://gizmodo.com/touch-id-will-reportedly-return-to-iphones-in-2021-with-1836973588. Accessed Aug. 29, 2019.

3 Gemalto. Aug. 22, 2019. “Biometrics: authentication
and identification (definition, trends, use cases, news) – 2019 review.” https://www.gemalto.com/govt/inspired/biometrics. Accessed Aug. 29, 2019.

4 Ibid.

5 Mike Greene. Bank Info Security. Aug 19, 2019. “Credential
Stuffing Attacks vs. Brute Force Attacks.” https://www.bankinfosecurity.com/blogs/credential-stuffing-attacks-vs-brute-force-attacks-p-2767. Accessed Aug. 29, 2019.

6 Ibid.

7 Techopedia. “Dictionary Attack.” https://www.techopedia.com/definition/1774/dictionary-attack. Accessed Aug. 29, 2019.

8 John William. CPO Magazine. Aug. 29, 2019. “Movies
That Can Help You Understand Data Privacy and Hacking.” https://www.cpomagazine.com/cyber-security/movies-that-can-help-you-understand-data-privacy-and-hacking/. Accessed Aug. 29, 2019.

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