Millennials ready for biometrics, lax on passwords: IBM study

Two-thirds of all adults are comfortable using biometric authentication today, and 87 percent would consider using it in the future, according to a global study by IBM. “The IBM Security: Future of Identity Study” also found that younger adults are more likely to use biometrics, multi-factor authentication and password managers to improve their personal security, even as they put less effort into traditional password hygiene.

Just under half of all adults use complex passwords (49 percent), while only 42 percent of millennials do so, and millennials use an average of 8 passwords, compared to 12 for all adults. In contrast, 75 percent of millennials are comfortable with biometrics today, and only 58 percent of adults over 55 say the same.

Fingerprints are considered to be the most secure form of authentication by 44 percent of respondents, while 30 percent consider “eye scans” to be most secure, followed by alphanumeric passwords (27 percent), then digital PIN and facial recognition at 12 percent each. The most common concern with biometric authentication is how data is collected and used, which is shared by 55 percent of adults, followed by the use of fake biometric data by others to access their accounts, which concerns 50 percent.

The average internet user in the U.S. has more than 150 accounts with passwords, and may have 300 in coming years, according to the study. Security is a significantly higher priority than privacy and convenience for every kind of application except social media, for which convenience is ranked slightly higher.

Regionally, respondents in the APAC region are the most knowledgeable and comfortable with biometric authentication, followed by those in Europe, with U.S. consumers reporting the least knowledge about and comfort with biometrics. Almost one in four U.S. adults are not interested in using biometrics now or in the future, almost double the global average.

Previously reported, RichRelevance also found that younger U.S. millennials are much more comfortable than others with facial recognition and other new technologies.

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