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Read below for news, insights, and discussion on identity and access management.

Identity-Bound Biometrics: What is IBB?

by BIO-key Team

As we continue to see an overwhelming number of cyberattacks, it has become apparent that many organizations are underprepared for these threats. Security breaches are in the news on an almost daily basis, which makes it clear that many organizations need a stronger way to secure their data. Identity-Bound Biometrics (IBB) can provide an ideal solution for enterprises looking to combat cyberattacks.


IBB: What Is It?

IBB is a powerful form of MFA that combats breaches using biometrics, such as palm and fingerprint scans, with the highest levels of integrity, security, availability, and accuracy. IBB ensures that users signing into a cloud-based application or mobile device are who they say they are. It is the most secure and convenient authentication method, making it easy to include biometrics as a key method and part to any enterprise MFA strategy. 


Identity-Bound Biometrics are well suited for remote workforces, third-party access, Customer IAM (CIAM), and passwordless workflows. For example, IBB can be a good solution for remote work since employees can use their palm or fingerprint to confirm they are the individual who is authenticating, not a phone, token, or unauthorized user. 


Unlike device-based biometric authentication methods which allow unauthorized delegation – aka possible login by an unapproved user – IBB provides organizations with greater confidence that their data and systems are secure from threats with a biometric that is permanently bound to the user’s digital identity.



The Problems with Passwords: 

Passwords are antiquated, and they are dying. While passwords are the most common form of security, they are no longer the best way to keep information safe. The 2021 Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report found that 61% of all breaches involved credential data such as leaked, stolen, or easy-to-guess passwords.


People are password fatigued and overwhelmed by having to manage on average, 100 passwords. This leads them to reusing them at their own risk. In fact, 99% of enterprise users reuse passwords across their accounts, which means if a hacker were to crack one of their passwords, they could gain access to multiple accounts.


Despite this, many of our country’s critical infrastructure organizations still operate based on outdated security protocols, including password protection. Some of these organizations have adopted one-time password options, including hardware tokens or OTP generators; however, these can still be inconvenient and create a disruption for the user. Furthermore, like traditional passwords, they can be passed along to anyone, and companies cannot be sure who is accessing data, just their device or token.


Why Two Factor Authentication is Important

More Secure than Passwords but Still Leaves Systems Vulnerable:

Two-factor (2FA) or multi-factor authentication (MFA) adds a layer of protection to the sign-in process by requiring users to provide additional verification, such as a verification code received on their phone. Multi-factor authentication (MFA) is more secure than passwords and MFA is a must-have security control.


Traditional authentication methods often include a personal identification number or one-time password and outside verification such as a phone, hardware token, or even a credit card chip. However, these verification factors may not be doing the trick protecting companies against hackers. Many high-profile cyberattacks have involved MFA breaches, including the recent Solar Winds attack. 


The Issue with Device-based Biometrics

IBB is a more secure option than device-based biometrics, which can unwittingly place the high-trust function of deciding who can access sensitive systems into an end-user's control. The security of device-based biometrics can be compromised if end-users share credentials or enroll additional users into their devices without the relying party’s consent. 


Device-based biometrics also create a single point of failure if the device is lost, prohibited, or left behind.  If the device falls into the wrong hands, security can be compromised. By tightly binding the biometric to a more permanent identity store using Identity-Bound Biometrics, businesses can avoid the pitfalls of device-based biometrics. 


Taking Biometrics to the Next Level with Identity-Bound Biometrics:

Identity-Bound Biometrics brings MFA to the next level. IBB provides a key backstop to secure identity integrity when dealing with third-party suppliers, remote workforces, and virtual teams. IBB is a powerful tool to use whenever identity integrity and prevention of delegation are a concern.  Identity integrity is guaranteed by permanently binding a biometric (e.g., palm scan) to the user’s digital identity to ensure only that individual can use their account privileges, not a proxy. Identity-Bound Biometrics cannot be forgotten, phished, stolen, or forged. Additionally, built-in liveness detection found in this form of authentication prevents imposters from using scanned pictures or fakes. 


IBB is more accurate than traditional MFA methods. The most used device-based biometrics accuracy is 1/50,000 for fingerprints; 1/1,000,000 for face ID/device-based biometrics. Palm accuracy, on the other hand, is 400 times more accurate than touch, with an accuracy rate of 1/20,000,000.


IBB focuses on confirming the user is truly who they say they are, rather than someone with the right credentials. The focus on confirming the user’s identity itself, rather than the credentials, is what makes IBB the most secure option. 


This year, with an increased number of users working in a digital environment, creating a seamless login experience is critical for productivity. IBB makes security more convenient for users. The ultimate benefit of biometrics, beyond its confirmation of security, is its ease of use for end-users who don’t need to bring or remember anything except themselves.


IBB: The Future of Security

While each form of authentication including passwords, tokens, mobile authenticators, and biometrics has its benefits, a holistic and flexible approach is the best way to ensure data remains safe. If companies want to truly future-proof their security posture and authentication strategy, a flexible MFA solution that offers Identity-Bound Biometrics is the ideal option.




BIO-key Team

Author: BIO-key Team

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