Fewer than half of insurers use biometrics for cyber security: NY State financial services

February 19, 2015 - 

The New York State Department of Financial Services published a new report that found that fewer than half of insurance providers surveyed said they use biometric solutions for cyber security, according to a report by CanadianUnderwriter.ca.

Released as part of this month’s “Report on Cyber Security in the Insurance Sector”, New York’s financial services department surveyed 43 companies including 31 health and life insurance providers and 12 property and casualty insurance providers.

The report found that 58% of insurers have not experienced any cyber security breaches in the three years preceding the survey, 35% have experienced between one and five breaches, 2% reported have seen between six and ten, and 5% have experienced more than ten breaches.

The institutions reported being the targets of a range of different hacking techniques, including intrusive, with 33% experiencing malicious software or malware, 23% experiencing email scams or phishing, 21% experiencing techniques to gain control of networked computers, such as botnets or zombies, and 9% experiencing pharming attacks.

To combat these security threats, all insurers surveyed said they use anti-virus software, tools to detect malicious code (such as spyware or malware), firewalls, intrusion detection tools and encryption for data in transit.

Additionally, 98% of respondents said they use both data loss prevention tools and file encryption, while 95% said they use vulnerability scanning tools.

Less than half of the insurance providers surveyed said they currently use biometrics solutions, which include fingerprint verification.

Ninety-one percent said they use server-based access control lists, solutions to identify unauthorized devices and smart cards or other one-time password tokens.

Eight-six percent of insurers surveyed said they use security correlation tools and implementing public key infrastructure systems, while 79% said they use intrusion detection systems.

“Unsurprisingly, less than half of all insurers surveyed reported the use of biometric tools, which rely on physical attributes to authenticate a person’s identity, such as fingerprint or retinal scanning,” DFS reported. “As biometric technology develops, it is expected that its use will become more widespread and cost effective.”

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. His experience includes a mix of entrepreneurship, brand development and publishing. Stephen attended Carleton University and lives in Toronto, Canada. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.