Biometrics and blockchain will beat credit card fraudsters
This is a guest post by Alastair Johnson, CEO of Nuggets.
It’s a tragedy of the times we live in that the compromise of our personal data by fraudsters feels like an inevitability, not just a risk.
To buy goods or access essential services online, we’re forced into sharing our credit card details, email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, passwords, and unique snippets of family history only we should know — like mothers’ maiden names.
We have little say over where this data is stored, how it is used, or who it is shared with and sold to. Most of the companies we deal with would have to concede they can’t guarantee the protection of this information. A seemingly unending series of high-profile data breaches on companies and government institutions continues to compromise the credit card details and personal information of people across the world.
Retail giants including Target, eBay Home Depot have been breached in recent years, losing in total hundreds of million of customers’ credit card details. Meanwhile, across the world, credit card details in tens of thousands of companies’ servers still sit vulnerable.
As consumers, it’s difficult for us to do our bit in the fight against credit card fraud. According to research, we have an average of more than 100 online accounts. Keeping track of unique passwords for each is a formidable task. That’s why so many people resort to using only one password for every account — much of the time obvious choices that are relatively easy for hackers to compromise.
Essentially the whole system of payment security is broken beyond repair. But as regulation around the handling of consumer data becomes more stringent, and the threat of digital attacks grows, companies are going to have to find a solution — their survival depends on it.
Up until now, fundamental reform of payment and data security has seemed out of reach. But the emergence of blockchain technology and biometrics, and the possibility of combining these technologies, is exciting everyone with an interest in protecting consumer data.
Blockchain + biometrics
Biometrics are already an important part of many people’s daily lives. The best smartphones, tablets and laptops now come with fingerprint, eye or facial map scanners. Meanwhile new web authentication standards that allow biometric log-ins are fast winning support from web browser giants including Google, Microsoft and Firefox.
Even more excitingly, decentralized blockchain technology now allows consumers to do business with companies online without having to hand over their personal information at all.
Instead, consumers can store their personal data on a blockchain with total ownership and control. This means companies never actually have control of customers’ data. For example, if a car rental agency needed to verify someone has a driver’s license, that person could provide an attestation or token reference.. So if this car rental company’s servers are compromised, the customer’s data remains absolutely safe.
Blockchain-based apps that offer this service are emerging already. And they rely on biometrics. For example, if a consumer wants to make a transaction online or in a store, they would need to use their fingerprint scanner to authorize the sale, without providing any specific information to the merchant or any other company. Passwords can be eliminated. All the merchant needs to know is that the transaction has been approved and the payment is coming their way.
The right blockchain solution – with zero knowledge storage, encryption, privacy, security and trust, all combined with an immutable decentralized ledger — will mean people won’t ever again have to entrust companies they barely know with their personal information.
People can take back control of their data in a way that’s easy and safe.
This is not just good for consumers, it’s good for businesses too. Zero-knowledge storage mechanisms on the blockchain represent a tangible way for companies to alleviate the burden of data protection.
The emergence of blockchain and biometric security combinations as viable, enterprise-ready solutions could be a game-changer for both customer privacy and security. It is about to eliminate the hassle and security issues of passwords, put personal data back in control of individuals, and finally protect people’s credit card details.
About the author
Alastair Johnson is the CEO of Nuggets, an e-commerce payments and ID platform.
DISCLAIMER: BiometricUpdate.com blogs are submitted content. The views expressed in this blog are that of the author, and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BiometricUpdate.com.