Biometric authentication: is facial recognition the new security standard?

Facial recognition is touted as a key security enhancement. We explore the business challenges the technology can solve.

Thirty thousand. That’s the number of infrared dots used by the latest standard today to create a map of your face for authentication and enable you to securely access your device. The process is as simple as it can get - look right into the camera and the biometric login system does the rest.

Today, facial scans to unlock phones (such as Apple’s Face ID), tagging people on social media or scanning crowds for security threats. It’s made its way into gaming, grocery stores, airports and payment platforms.

Facial recognition software and biometric technology are making inroads into building robust security platforms - with a system that’s designed to prevent spoofing by masks or photos. It’s permeated into security and law enforcement, even making paperless travel a reality. With the technology available today and widespread adoption of smartphones (and built-in laptop cameras), most consumers using digital services will be able to perform a biometric authentication: they can take a selfie and facial recognition software can verify their identity to grant them access to their account.

Facial recognition login exists for a reason - it is an alternative to identification using something you know (like a passcode or a PIN) or something you have (like a security token) and extend it with your biometric data (something you are). Popular forms of identification like passwords and RFIDs are actually forms of authentication and assume that if you know something or have something, then you are the person you claim to be.

When coupled with two-factor authentication, biometric logins can significantly improve and enhance digital security.

Facial recognition technology: tackling fraud and risk with a focus on privacy

In recent years, it’s hard to miss the spate of data breaches and security vulnerabilities when it comes to user identities and personal data. Unfortunately, while identity misuse is not something new, it’s increasingly apparent that billions across the world are falling prey to security breaches.

The frequency is worrying, with reports estimating that every minute, nearly 4,251 records are lost or stolen. For businesses, the implications can be costly.

pie chart of the data breach categories broken into four parts

In its 2019 Cost Of a Data Breach Report, IBM Security highlighted that a single data breach can cost enterprises almost $3.86 million on average, with a majority - about 58 percent - of data breach victims being small businesses.

With the digital revolution came tech savvy bad actors who have evolved from using old school, traditional methods of identity theft to advanced identity breaches to create fraudulent accounts and identities with the stolen data.

It’s not just fraud - as we get involved in social media, a space that’s constantly growing, every data point we share can help an external source puzzle them together to build data profiles on consumers, complete with purchase habits, personal details and more.

Access to personal information has peaked to an all time high, and multiple businesses are looking to tap into the data obtained for monetization. There’s a significant value attached to users’ data points - highlighting the critical need for a strong, robust digital security platform. This starts with authentication.

Traditional forms of identity authentication, such as SMS-based verification, carries flaws that make it easy for threat actors to access account details. Using biometric technology, like facial recognition login software and liveness detection, along with verified government-issued identity documents can enhance security.

infographic breaking down the cost of a data breach

An additional layer of two-factor authentication will act as a prevention protocol for mitigating cyberattacks and unauthorized access. There’s an increasing need to verify and authenticate that the individual or user is indeed who they claim to be, and biometric data that leverages facial recognition login is one of the best ways to address this security concern.

By requesting for a valid government-issued ID and matching it against a live video of the user, enterprises enjoy a greater level of assurance that the person is who they say they are. Biometric login can help fight synthetic fraud and brute force attacks on accounts, which are pitched to be some of the biggest threats facing organizations today.

Building the future of digital identity through facial recognition technology

The conversation around digital identities have taken a user-focused, privacy-centric turn. Digital identity platforms like Passbase believe that the future of digital privacy and security lies in empowering the user with control over their data.

With Passbase, businesses are able to authenticate and verify the true identity of their users, while enabling users with control over what data to share and who to share it with.

In a data-sensitive environment that is now regulated by watchdogs, compliance authorities and policies like CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act) and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), it’s vital that organizations allow users to access their accounts without exposing sensitive details.

Organizations will need to use access control policies. They should protect people’s information by design and collect only the information they need, protected by the latest enhancements in biometric authentication, decentralized systems and anti-spoofing technologies.

The only true way of protecting personal data is by not sharing it. When we look at the future of security and consider ways to prevent identity theft and attacks, there needs to be a mix of biometric authentication and zero-knowledge proofs - where users own their own data but don’t share it.


By tapping into identity verification platforms like Passbase, businesses can leverage a robust and secure channel for authenticating their users - through a combination of facial recognition login software, liveness detection, and knowledge-based authentication - all backed by government IDs.

With demands for speed and omnichannel support (usage across webcams and mobile devices), users look for authentication platforms that are fast, easy to use and highly secure. With biometric login, users can quickly complete the verification process in in 0.3 seconds through Passbase, making it a seamless experience for the user.

We also allow users to reuse their verified digital identities across other services as well - reducing friction that comes with multiple authentication requests and increases overall customer satisfaction rates.

Why biometric authentication is a win-win for businesses and customers

Unlike facial recognition systems used for surveillance, biometric login is performed only after seeking the user’s consent and the authentication is done under a secure network before permitting the user access to their account.

One of the bigger benefits of taking a video selfie (in the same way that Apple uses FaceID) is that a a can perform their identity verification without the traditionally cumbersome process - a scan is done in a few milliseconds. Businesses will be able to sift out fraudulent accounts and ensure that only legitimate users are creating and accessing their accounts.

Data privacy and secure storage are clearly important if we are to work for a future dominated by biometrics for authentication processes. Biometric login, as long as the technology remains agile and highly secure, is accurate and provides a quick turnaround time, will be key to driving trust and security between enterprises and users.

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Passbase is an identity verification solution that makes facial recognition, liveness detection, ID verification and KYC and AML compliance accessible through a suite of flexible developer tools. A zero-knowledge architecture ensures that companies using Passbase can securely verify users from over 190 countries without having to store their data. Built for developers, it can be integrated with just a few lines of code on iOS, Android, and Web.