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Biometrics in Internet of Things (IoT) security

Published on 05/17/2017 | Use Cases

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Narsimhmaswamy Badugu

Software Engineer. HCL Technologies


Internet of Things (IoT) is the network of physical objects/things that contain technology embedded within which enables them to communicate, and sense or interact with their internal states or the external environment. 

As the number of devices connected to the internet are increasing exponentially the greatest concerns that need to be taken care is to provide security to remotely access the devices. From 15 billion devices today, the world will see 50 billion devices connected via the Internet of Things (IoT) by 2020, according to a report by Cisco.

How will biometrics come into IoT?

I come across some market research findings on biometrics and the internet of things:

  • Gartner predicts that by 2016, IoT will drive device and user relationship requirements in 20% of new identity and access control management.
  • Gartner also conservatively estimates that biometric sensors, which includes work time management and premise security entry consoles, will total at least 500 million IoT connections in 2018 and 26 billion by 2020.
  • Gartner predicts 30% of organizations will use biometric authentication for mobile devices by 2016.
  • Acuity Market Intelligence forecasts that within three years,biometrics will become a standard feature on smartphones as well as other mobile devices.
  • Forecasters estimate 500 million biometric sensors will be deployed for IoT use by 2018.
  • Bio metric Research Group said: "We conservatively estimate that biometric sensors, which includes work time management and premise security entry consoles, will total at least 500 million "Internet of Things" connections by 2018."

Secure accessing of IoT devices:

Traditionally user authentication is provided in two ways.

Ø Single-factor passwords or PINs

Ø Multi-factor authentication.

  • Password or PIN
  • Card or Token.  

A password or PIN alone is a single-layer authentication is riskiest since passwords and PINs can easily be shared, lost, forgotten, hacked, or stolen and it is the only layer of authentication that is required.

Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is a popular method, but when used with a password/PIN/card can cause friction at the user level. This is because passwords/PINs/cards are easily forgotten, shared or stolen… Which is really a testament to the fact that the guaranteed security of usernames and passwords is prevented by the human need for ease and convenience.

The only way to resolve the above drawbacks is to apply Biometric technologies in user authentication and biometrics emerged as a secure and convenient way of granting the access.

Biometric is a measurement and statistical analysis of physical and behavioral characteristics of a people. 

The biggest differentiator between a biometric and other authentication method is that it is the only way to truly verify the identity of the individual because that biometric is ~100% unique to that individual.

Biometrics in IoT Applications:

Ø Smart security

  • Smart home
  • Smart office
  • Intelligent building system

Ø Healthcare & Hospitals.

Ø Financial services.

Ø Automotive Industry.

Ø Endless applications wherever Identification and confirmation is required.

As the Internet of Things continues to evolve so will the mainstream use of biometrics. It is mandatory to use biometric authentication in IoT this is because it verifies the true identity of the user of the application in more efficient and secure way.

This article was originally featured on LinkedIn.

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