Passwords are passe but biometrics are not mobile

Apr 23, 2010

Writing in the International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, researchers from the US and Germany point out an inherent flaw in the financial industry adopting biometric logins to boost security in that the advent of mobile devices, such as netbooks, PDAs, and smart phones might make biometric logins impossible when one is on the move.

Biometric logins that use , , or identify you based on how you type look set to replace conventional passwords for accessing online banking and credit card services, online payment companies and even internet stockbrokers. However, smart phones and other portable devices do not currently have the sophistication to be adapted easily for biometric technology. Moreover, users are likely to be reluctant to carry yet another device and its associated electrical charger along with their smart phone simply to login to their bank account when not at their .

James Pope of the College of Business Administration, at the University of Toledo, Ohio working with Dieter Bartmann of the University of Regensburg, Germany, explain that the security of online financial transactions is becoming an increasing problem, especially as security loopholes in login systems and web browsers emerge repeatedly. Simply logging in with a password looks set to become technically passé.

"Passwords have been widely used because of their simplicity of implementation and use," the researchers say, "but are now regarded as providing minimal security." Moreover, as repeated scare stories about hacking and identity theft pervade the media, consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about online security. Further development of e-commerce and banking will be stifled if the issues of fraud and identity theft are not addressed. While biometric readers are being adapted for desktop computers they are seriously lagging behind in portability and compatibility with and other mobile computing devices.

Explore further: US official: Auto safety agency under review

More information: "Securing online transactions with biometric methods" in International Journal of Electronic Marketing and Retailing, 2010, 3, 132-144

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THoKling
5 / 5 (2) Apr 23, 2010
Strange that people have had their passwords compromised so easily, if this article is any authority. In the 30 years I've been computing, aside from one case of internal espionage (back in the days of BBSes), I've never had a password compromised.

It seems biometric systems would be best provided as an option for customers. Those of us who are happy (and successfully secure) with passwords and shun biometric technologies should not be penalised.