RIP, passwords!

James Stickland | January 21, 2020

One of the key trends to impact millions of people and businesses in 2020 is the death of the password. Passwords are widely recognized as an outdated, costly method of authentication, and a frequently used attack vector. It is no surprise that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) now recognizes multi factor authentication including biometrics as a far more secure alternative.

Passwords accounted for 61 percent of data breaches last year. In 2020, the expansion of 5G – the wireless replacement for broadband that is up to 100 times faster than its predecessor – will escalate the volume and speed of data theft, empowering attackers to penetrate vital company data. As a result, more and more organizations are turning towards biometric authentication to mitigate against increasingly sophisticated security threats, while enhancing the user experience.

Gartner forecasts that by 2022, 60 percent of businesses will have cut their reliance on passwords by half.  

Increasingly, companies are realizing the weaknesses of passwords. Employee password reuse has led to sensitive customer data being exposed. Then they are the resets, which cost firms a staggering $1.9 million a year and decrease productivity significantly. And passwords – which have to be remembered and typically must contain a certain number of characters, numbers and uppercase letters – don’t provide a positive customer experience. Biometric authentication is a far more secure and user-friendly alternative to this cumbersome and obsolete security measure.

Other security trends in 2020 will include:

A more secure gig economy

The popularity of the gig economy is expected to continue into 2020, and businesses have come under increasing scrutiny recently for failing to properly screen or take accountability for the people who use their platforms. Companies should be proactive and focus on an identity verification approach that leverages biometrics such as fingerprint and facial, coupled with liveness detection, which identifies movement to ensure the individual is present. 

Using behavioral biometrics to combating identity and e-commerce

Global e-commerce fraud is projected to cost $130 billion by 2023. This issue has been amplified by artificial intelligence-powered ‘deepfake’ threats that imitate characteristics such as voice. These are anticipated to cost businesses more than $250 million in identity fraud scams this year.

Integrating innovative behavioral biometric authentication, which uses artificial intelligence to identify unique mannerisms such as gait, or patterns of behavior such as the time of day an app is accessed, as well as location, is widely being regarded as the final frontier in security, and a solution to such advanced threats.

Mobile-first security

Gartner predicts that by 2022, 70 percent of organizations will be using biometric authentication for employees via smartphone apps, which is a huge rise from less than five percent in 2018. 

This year will also see mobile-first authentication strategies take precedence. Biometric facial recognition hardware will be present in 90 percent of smartphones by 2024, thus enterprises with a multi factor authentication strategy will provide increased security for their clients and the organization and also an improved and more seamless user experience.

RIP, passwords

Passwords have lived a long life since they were first used to protect data in the 1960s. But with biometrics set to bring in passwordless authentication – and better security and usability with it – 2020 is the year that organizations should say goodbye to passwords. The security, authentication and identity challenges businesses face can no longer be solved with a string of characters. Using what we are for authentication offers the best hope for combatting attackers and improving authentication this year and beyond.

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