Wednesday, January 13, 2021

URSP Student Areej Ali Researches the Advancing Threats to Biometric Data and its Countermeasures

The cyber security industry is currently one of the most rapidly advancing and high-tech industries, it fascinates me to see how many different fields are affected by the discoveries in technological security. As technology has grown ever more prevalent in our society, cyber security has become critical to the safety of the biometrics industry. This digital security is necessary both to ensure the physical safety of society, by protecting sensitive information from unauthorized individuals, and also to ensure the safety and stability of the global population by preventing cyber-attacks upon businesses, organizations, or governments, which can result in devastating losses. Biometric authentication provides a strong factor of security in multi-factor authentication. Biometric data is used in virtually every industry, spanning from healthcare to agriculture, since biometrics are used in everyday tasks such as clock-in stations and basic identification processes. However, not all biometric data is stored in a secure manner. We use biometrics in our daily lives, such as biometric authentication using Face ID or fingerprint touch (in Apple devices) for protection of our data. However, we need to protect the biometric data that we use on our devices. Biometric data is invaluable due to various factors; biometric data is not able to be replicated, replaced, or reproduced and is one of the strongest defenses against modern cyber security attacks.

The expectations of this research project are to examine and learn about the current risks associated with biometric usage as well as possible solutions as the world continues to improve in cyber resilience. The main objectives of this research project are to utilize and incorporate operational/systems research methods to discover vulnerabilities that can leave biometric systems exposed to hackers and to determine realistic changes to prevent cyber-attacks. This research project will also be utilizing methods that are critical to research such as government policies (NIST) and the OSI security model.

I have discovered that the cyber resiliency in many organizations lacks the various tools necessary to protect biometric data from attack agents (hackers) and that it is quite difficult to implement updated technology. One of the reasons why it is hard to implement new technologies is because of widespread legacy systems. Currently, there are insufficient methods to ensure the protection of biometric data, however there are numerous technologies/tools in the works that will help to support the protection of biometric data. There are various biometric data security solutions in the works such as the possible usage of quantum cryptography to ensure higher security and cancellable biometrics. This project plans to address the vulnerabilities in major security tools and provide sustainable countermeasures.

Takahashi, K., & Hirata, S. (2011). Cancelable Biometrics with Provable Security and Its Application to Fingerprint Verification. IEICE Trans. Fundam. Electron. Commun. Comput. Sci., 94-A, 233-244.