A recent global study by the IBM Security has revealed that $112 billion has been stolen through identity fraud in the last six years, equating to around $35,600 lost every minute.
People have been confirming their identities to access valuable services since the emergence of internet in the 1980s. It’s not only the society that has grown along with the internet, but also the fraudsters, con men, and organized crime have seen a rise.
In 2015, the Javelin Strategy Research expected the fraud related to new online accounts to increase as much as 44% by 2018, and the loss to increase from $5 billion to $8 billion in just four years.
The private information of consumers is compromised, and the current data breaches clear all doubts. Last month, it was found that sensitive information of 123 million American households was exposed online in Alteryx data breach. Anyone with a free AWS account could access this sensitive information.
To secure the individual and organizational identities, different authentication schemes like biometric authentication (fingerprint or facial recognition), keystroke dynamics and voice recognition, are replacing the typical passwords.
Security over convenience and privacy
The IBM Security surveyed around 4000 adults online, across the US, Europe, and APAC, and found that 70% respondents preferred security over privacy and convenience, especially for their financial apps and accounts.
However, when asked about social media, 36% respondents chose convenience over security (34%) and privacy (30%). This shows how people nowadays are addicted to their Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts. Many consumers use these accounts to authenticate other applications like delivery services, online shopping, dating sites, etc. In case one of their social accounts is compromised, the chances are that it might affect other linked accounts as well.
Fingerprint authentication ranked first among authentication techniques
67% of respondents were comfortable using biometric authentication, while 87% said that would go for different biometric authentication techniques in the near future. Of all the authentication techniques, fingerprint was ranked most secure (44%), followed by retinal scan (30%).
Alphanumeric passwords (27%), Digital PIN (12%), facial recognition (12%) among others, were perceived less secure.
Privacy (55%) and security (50%) remained the biggest concerns with biometric authentication.
Social media sites least trusted to keep biometric data secure
Of all the industries who keep biometric data secure, banking (48%) was said to be most trusted, followed by health insurance providers (29%), while social media sites were among the least trusted (15%).
Older generations set stronger passwords
The survey report “Future of Identity Study” revealed that people with age between 18 to 20 use just 5 passwords at multiple places; while millennials (20 to 36 aged) use 8; and people aged over 55 use over 12 passwords. The use of same password for multiple accounts is risky, because even if one is exposed, it can lead to others being compromised as well.
The millennials put least effort into the safety of password, with only 42% setting a complex one, as compared to 49% of people aged over 55.
36% of people aging between 18-20, used password managers to keep all passwords at a single point, and to avoid memorizing them.
The younger generation (aged under 34) was found to be looking for some speedy authentication experience that took just a few seconds rather than traditional password hassles.
The IBM survey found that the millennials will either go for two-factor authentication (32%), or stop using affected apps and services (25%), in wake of a breach.
“User preferences, habits and attitudes will largely determine which authentication platforms will succeed in the marketplace,” stated the report.
Perspectives vary according to regions
Region wise, Europe (55%) was found to be having the strongest password practices, compared to APAC (46%) and the US (41%).
79% of respondents from the US said that they were aware of data breaches in past year, compared to 70% in APAC and 69% in Europe. More number of the US respondents were keen on using two-factor authentication to avoid data breach, rather than using biometrics authentication methods.
More than 70% of the APAC respondents believed that biometrics can enhance security and identity protection.
The survey concluded that the people and organizations are aware of biometrics authentication techniques, where fingerprint authentication method is the most popular choice. Android and iPhone smartphones have empowered the fingerprint authentication with its comfort and familiarity level.
Organizations are making it mandatory for their employees to adopt authentication techniques such as OTPs, biometrics, or hardware tokens when signing into workplace services.
Images source: IBM Security