This bank in Thailand enabled biometric access for their mobile app

October 16, 2017 - 

Passwords have long been an outdated form of authentication, and are often the weak link in an otherwise solid security process. The world’s most popular password is 123456, with the second being 123456789. Ouch.

Mobile devices are now being developed to include a new form of authentication related to biometric data. In short, the technology allows you to unlock your device via your fingerprint, voice, facial contours and even your iris pattern.

When it works, it’s a neat way to identify yourself and gain access to said device. When it doesn’t, it can be frustrating.

But in recent years, the technology has improved considerably — so much that fingerprint sensors are now a common feature of the newest smartphones. It eliminates the need to input a passcode or PIN every time you want access to the device or its content. It’s convenient, safe and reliable.

We have yet to see brands and businesses adopt biometric authentication procedures, at least on a wider scale. That may all be about to change.

A bank in Thailand, called Krungthai Card, has enabled biometric access for their newest mobile app.

What Does Krungthai’s App Do?

If you’re not familiar with Krungthai Card, their mobile banking app allows users to log in and make transactions simply by using their biometric details.

More specifically, the app employs fingerprint scans and iris recognition scans thanks to integration with the Samsung Pass service. Customers can scoop up their phone, open the app and dive in through a quick and efficient login process.

Will this technology be used by consumers, however? The answer is, most assuredly, yes.

Most of the apps and services mobile users take advantage of are the kind you’d never expect. Did you know nearly 50 percent of U.S. smartphone users have a barcode scanner app on their device, for instance? Probably not, and the same is true of most of the apps, features and services mobile users take advantage of. Biometric authentication is definitely something that will grow in popularity.

This feature is not just convenient, but secure. If customers lose or misplace their phone, a stranger will not be able to simply open the banking app and wreak havoc on their finances. Passwords and passcodes, while tedious, are hackable or easy to guess.

Biometric data, on the other hand, is exclusive to the person or individual. In other words, no one is going to have the same fingerprint or iris patterns as you.

Of course, that technology assumes a high level of precision. The iris scanner makes an identification thanks to the device’s front-facing camera. It analyzes a user’s eye shape, iris pattern, size and colors before determining if there’s a match.

If the technology is not good at discerning this information, it could be vulnerable. Say, for instance, the tool does a poor scan and unlocks for any iris color of the same shade. That could have devastating consequences. Again, accuracy is incredibly important with this kind of technology.

Is It Secure?

Aside from the concerns on accuracy, there is another matter regarding security. To identify or discern a user’s identity, the system needs a base set of data to compare to.

It will perform initial fingerprint scans or iris scans to correctly store this information. Therein lies the rub. If this data is easy to access, security goes out the door.

Due to these security concerns, the company has a policy in place to store biological information in the cloud, via the Fast Identity Online Cloud service. The information or data in question doesn’t live on users’ phones — which is both good and bad.

On one hand, the data reaps the benefits of a third-party cloud service and maintenance team. On the other, cloud data is always at risk.

A breach or cyberattack could result in this information falling into the wrong hands. You can argue that once someone makes off with this data, they’d still need to devise a way to use it to unlock access to the mobile app.

While that extra hurdle doesn’t eliminate the risks entirely, it does lower the possibility of having your financial information compromised.

For now, biometric access is a safe and incredibly convenient way to facilitate your banking and related transactions.

Hopefully, we’ll see more banks and brands adopt this technology in the near future.

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About Kayla Matthews

Kayla Matthews is a biometrics and technology writer who contributes to VentureBeat, VICE, MakeUseOf and The Week. To read more posts from Kayla, you can follow her blog Productivity Bytes.