Britons 'embracing biometric security measures'


The use of biometrics such as fingerprint scanners on smartphones as a means of security is being embraced by the British public, according to new research.

Information services firm Experian has found that 61% of people felt biometrics were as secure, or more secure, than the current online system of passwords.

Biometrics in mobile devices have become increasingly common, with Apple's iPhone and iPad, Samsung's Galaxy line of smartphones, HTC and Google all using fingerprint scanners as a method of unlocking devices.

Users of Apple Pay on the iPhone and iPad can also confirm payment transactions using their fingerprint. 

The research also found that 64% of UK adults would be comfortable using biometrics to log into their online banking account.

Ian Cunningham, managing director of ID and fraud at Experian, said: "Recent innovations have really brought biometrics into everyday life and now the majority of UK adults are willing to accept it as a form of ID verification for accounts.

"Fear of falling victim to ID theft and perceptions about security have driven this acceptance to some degree.

"However, it would be wrong to say that biometric technology should be adopted in place of passwords, because the best way to stop fraudsters is to make them face a number of barriers. Not just one.

"Criminals will always go for low hanging fruit, so it up to us to make our houses as safe as possible. The fewer the layers of security, the more vulnerable to theft those systems are.

"Of course there needs to be a balance between risk prevention and the experience of the person trying to log on."

Nineteen per cent of those who took part in Experian's survey also said they would be comfortable using retina scanning as an additional form of identification. 

Several of the major technology companies, including Google and Twitter, have already introduced optional two-factor authentication to their platforms, where users must go through two levels of security in order to log in to an account.