Say goodbye to your password – biometrics in 2016

By Clayton Howes, CEO, MoneyMe

You already use your finger to unlock your phone. Now, imagine doing the same thing with your eyes.

Sounds crazy, right? Maybe something Tom Cruise would do in a Mission Impossible movie.


The biometrics revolution is beginning, and it’s only going to get more exciting from here. In fact, by 2020 research group IDC expects 50% of all mobile devices to have biometric security.

We have a security problem. Society has been using the same type of security measures for decades, and they’re not working. How many times have you received a message from a retailer or other business asking you to change your username or password due to a breach? (Ashley Madison customers know this pain all too well.)

It’s easy to crack this stuff. Even when your password is long, random and complicated. An investigation by Wired in 2013 found security experts were able to hack into a list of about 16,000 passwords.

Now, when you consider that most people just use random words for passwords, including easily-guessable content like “password” or “1234”, password security looks a lot less secure.

And it’s only going to become more crucial to protect this content. We’re giving away more of our data every day – to apps, to websites, to digital services. Our credit card numbers and passwords are held by dozens, even hundreds, of different services.

We’re using ancient technology to protect modern data. This is 2016. It’s a little sad our usernames and passwords are being leaked on a regular basis.

Enter biometrics.

This isn’t science-fiction. People use their thumbs to unlock their smartphones every day. Using retina scanning and facial recognition technology used to be in the realm of top-secret government departments. Now, Facebook can scan photographs automatically to recognise you and your friends.

As consumers, we should all be hoping for the day that advanced biometrics comes as standard in our devices. Think about the conveniences. You’ll never have to remember a password again, or for that matter, spend time thinking up a complex string of words that you’re never going to remember anyway. (And remember – they’re still easy to crack).

With biometrics, there’s relatively zero chance someone can steal your identity. Hackers don’t stand a chance if they need to literally use your eyes to get some money and using these methods means less admin and less paperwork for everyone.

For start-ups, access to biometric security methods is also a huge win. Trusting a business with data is one of the hurdles new customers face when signing up for a product. Ensuring biometric security is baked in from the start means businesses will be able to find new customers a lot sooner.

Privacy is something that MoneyMe takes very seriously, as we’re planning to become one of Australia’s first quick finance companies to introduce biometric identification. This will make things safer and easier for customers when accessing their accounts.

So, say goodbye to your password. You won’t need it anymore.

Here are just a few examples of biometrics techniques already being used across the world:

Fingerprint scanning

Human fingerprints are nearly unique and difficult to alter. And they’re not only used on phones. In Japan, there are over 80,000 biometric ATMs.

Vein reading

Poland was the first country to introduce ATMs that used an infra-red reader to allow customers to withdraw money. In the US, nuclear power and biohazard plants have installed vein readers.

Iris recognition

Hundreds of millions of people around the world have had their irises scanned for their passports.

Google uses iris scanners to control access to its datacentres, while Microsoft also introduced two Lumia phones that use iris scans for security.

Facial recognition

Australia already uses facial recognition in border control - that’s why the rules for your passport photo are so strict.

Speech identification

An advantage of speech identification is that you can authenticate your voice from a remote location (such as over the phone).

These are just some of the main biometric technologies already being deployed throughout Australia and overseas. But several others are emerging, including DNA analysis, keystroke recognition, gait analysis and EEG/EGC analysis.

Clayton Howes is the CEO of digital consumer finance firm MoneyMe ( He's an expert in personal finance as well as small business and start-ups.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags hackerszero daysfingerprint scannerbiometricsAuthentication and authorizationMoneyMe

More about FacebookGoogleMicrosoft

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Clayton Howes

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts