Security Awareness: Over Half of Mobile Users Are Ready For Biometric Authentication

Proper education is extremely important when it comes to new technology, and with October officially National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) it only seems appropriate to focus on a very hot and in many cases misunderstood aspect of online identity: biometrics. PayPal and the National Cyber Security Alliance released the results to a Zogby Poll conducted in support of NCSAM aimed at revealing trends, concerns and mis-perceptions surrounding mobile security and commerce. The results were encouraging in regards to how eager to embrace mobile biometrics the consumer body is.

Over half of mobile consumers say that they are comfortable with fingerprint identification on smartphones, and 45 percent are fine with mobile iris authentication on their device of choice. This is impressive given the amount of paranoia that began to infect the public after the announcement of Touch ID and its subsequent spoofing by German hacking group Chaos Computer Club.

The eagerness to embrace an easy and strong security measure seems to come from two factors addressed in the poll: dependence on mobile devices and a distrust in current generation protection when it comes to financial transactions. Almost 70 percent of Americans surveyed don’t believe that storing financial information on their smartphones is safe, while 63 percent aren’t even completely sure what financial information is stored on their devices.

Throw in the fact that over half of all smartphone users don’t even use PINs to protect their phones and the picture becomes clear: initiatives like NCSAM are necessary for the future of not just mobile biometrics, but any sort of mobile-related market that relies on the transfer of identification factors.

“The survey results clearly indicate that consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to conduct transactions,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “However, they also show that consumers need to get more active about mobile security, especially around basic security measures such as adding a PIN code or password to their devices and understanding what kinds of information their devices store.”

Now that they know the needs of the consumer and the areas in which public education is needed, companies concerned for the future of authentication like PayPal, can start providing users with the tools to feel more at ease. Tools like the advice to STOP. THINK. CONNECT. – a national cyber-security awareness campaign

For more information on how to be a more informed, and therefore more secure mobile user, the NCSA and STOP.THINK.CONNECT. have developed and awareness brochure for sharing and educating that is available online.