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Online security set for biometric takeover

28 December 2017 - 09:24 by Graham Miller

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The growing number of smartphones which offer integrated biometric scanners could soon mean that passwords are no longer the norm for providing basic security online.

This is according to a new Deloitte study which found that 15 million Brits own a device with this type of hardware onboard. Of this group, four fifths say that they regularly harness the scanner to log into accounts and carry out safe shopping online.

Thirty five per cent said that they had begun to rely on biometric security to conduct online banking, which means that about a tenth of consumers who own smartphones are au fait with its potential for convenience.

Fingerprint scanning is by far the most popular type of biometric identification, with consumers less likely to make use of things like face scanning, in spite of the fact that a growing number of handsets have such features on tap.

The iPhone X introduced Face ID and could be a catalyst for wider use of facial recognition, but its high asking price makes it a niche capability for now.

Analysts anticipate that fingerprint scanning will fall by the wayside in the long run, with face-based identification likely to lead the way in its wake. All this means that having to remember a username and password to carry out safe shopping online or log into any number of other digital services will be unnecessary.

Although there are concerns about how biometric security measures might be subverted by cybercriminals, it could be argued that traditional passwords are even easier to exploit. From people picking common, crackable codes to hacks who leave passwords open to malicious third parties, there are plenty of vulnerabilities that biometric scanning can eradicate while also making things more straightforward for consumers who want to shop online.