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Biometrics here to stay

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Recent reports have shown that the biometrics industry is set to hit $44-billion by 2021, a sure indication that it is here to stay. GREG SARRAIL shares his predictions about biometrics for 2016 and beyond.

According to ReportsnReports.com, the global biometrics market, valued at $US 7 billion in 2014, is predicted to hit $US 44 billion by 2021. This figure includes the leading biometric market segments of border control and government ID systems, workplace access and consumer identity verification.   For many years biometrics has expanding into the enterprise and consumer industries.  With a predicted compound annual growth rate of 13.37% by 2019, biometrics’ time has come and it’s here to stay.

Current adoption and predicted growth rates aren’t surprising.

Biometrics has long since shed its early reputation as being ineffective and inaccurate. Today, the biometrics industry is delivering trusted solutions that are tailored for the enterprise, finance and communications markets. The latest biometrics technologies are able to authenticate people of all ages, ethnicities and skin types.  Even ambient dirt and water have little effect on the result – allowing for a reliable solution that can be easily implemented.

Providing new levels of biometric accuracy has enabled a marked shift in biometrics adoption and development globally.  From simple smartphone access to solutions that secure ATMs or network resources, biometrics is starting to play a role in each of our lives by providing seamless authentication.  New offerings from MasterCard and VISA include a facial recognition payment service and standards to support the use of biometrics. While biometric authentication solutions commonly use a fingerprint, voice or a face, innovations continue to expand the possibilities through the use of a person’s other unique characteristics such as gait, a wave of a hand, even the rhythm associated with typing of a keyboard.

There are many possibilities and the biometrics industry has only scratched the surface. I predict that there will be a surge in commercial biometric solutions for banks, governments and healthcare and in inventive biometrically-enabled gadgets. Biometrics offerings will be tailored to the risk profile of each unique application, providing the appropriate level of security to the authentication process and simplifying access by legitimate users to devices and systems.  As organisations look to protect their data, regulations such as POPI help to make biometrics become far more prevalent in the corporate space in South Africa. And with the new Smart ID card, biometrics will become the ultimate in trusted identity verification.

* Greg Sarrail, VP Solutions Business Development, Biometrics, at HID Global

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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