February 02, 2024

Anonybit Team

How Your Business Can Protect Against A Biometric Data Breach

Blog

Biometric authentication techniques have the potential to revolutionize security. However, what happens when this advanced technology is compromised? Consider this scenario: your business secures its data meticulously, but the threat is not to physical assets. A biometric data breach could render all your defense systems ineffective. How can you prevent this from happening? We are here to provide insights into biometric data security risks and ways to protect your business.

To protect your company from cyber-attacks and data theft, consider Anonybit’s identity management platform. This tool helps secure your biometric data, ensuring only authorized individuals can access your company’s valuable information.

What Is Considered Biometric Data?

sample of a data - Biometric Data Breach

Biometric data is a type of data that describes and classifies measurable human characteristics. This is a process called biometrics. Biometric data is typically captured, stored, and processed as mathematical representations of the original sample, known as vectors or templates.

Biometric data, beyond its technical aspects, has practical applications. It can be used for authentication, to  prove that you are who you say you are (for example, by providing a fingerprint). It is also commonly used for identification, where you search an existing repository to confirm that a person is already in a system  (for example, by comparing their selfie against an existing database of photos to prevent identity theft or someone on a blocklist from enrolling back into the system. These real-world applications of biometric data make it a fascinating and relevant field of study.

Passive vs. Active Biometric Data Collection

There are two main ways that biometric data is collected: passively and actively. When biometric data is collected passively, the subject does not have to do anything for their biometric information to be collected at all—it just happens because of some inherent property of the subject (like their voice or face). When biometric data is collected actively, there must be some interaction between the subject and the device that will collect this information (like an eye scanner). It is considered best practice to acquire user consent regardless of whether the collection is passive or active.

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Can Biometrics Be Hacked?

man with mask trying to hack - Biometric Data Breach

Biometric data breach vulnerabilities exist, which means that hackers can potentially access and exploit biometric information. A vivid example of this was when researchers discovered vulnerabilities in Suprema’s BioStar 2 system. By exploiting these vulnerabilities, hackers infiltrated the system and accessed over 27.8 million records, including sensitive identifiers such as fingerprints and face photos. This breach highlights the ease with which hackers can obtain biometric information, thus posing a significant risk to individuals and organizations. Another high-profile example was the US Office of Personnel Management.

The inability to change biometric data presents a unique challenge in the event of a breach. Unlike passwords or other forms of authentication that can be easily reset, biometric data remains tied to individuals permanently. If biometric data is leaked in a breach, the identifiers will forever be linked to specific individuals, even if the breach is discovered and addressed. In such cases, hackers could exploit the stolen biometrics for malicious activities over an extended period before being detected. It also complicates any fraud resolution process because it would be difficult for a person to claim that a transaction was not conducted by them.

Anonybit’s Secure Identity Management Solutions

At Anonybit, our decentralized biometrics system design helps companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud. With a decentralized biometrics solution, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, and help desk authentication. We are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeovers, and synthetic identity fraud.

To achieve this goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 biometric authentication and 1:N biometric matching to prevent duplicates, synthetics and blocklisted identities 

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, enable strong authentication to eliminate account takeovers, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit.

Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

What Is A Biometric Data Breach?

When it comes to biometric data breaches, we’re talking about some heavy stuff. This isn’t like losing your favorite hoodie or dropping your phone in the toilet. This is one of those things that can really mess up your day. When someone gets hold of your biometric data, they’ve basically got the keys to the kingdom. It’s like handing over your whole identity on a silver platter. And the kicker? You can’t just change your fingerprints like you can change your password. So once that data is out there, it’s out there for good.

Risks Associated With Biometric Breaches

hacking a server - Biometric Data Breach

1. Injection Attacks

Injection attacks pose a serious threat to biometric systems. Attackers can bypass the normal data capture process and inject fake biometric data directly into the verification system. This allows them to impersonate legitimate users and gain unauthorized access to protected accounts and systems. The consequences can be severe, including identity theft, financial fraud, and unauthorized access to sensitive information.

2. Synthetic Identity Creation

The combination of stolen biometric data with other personal information and generative AI technologies creates a potent threat. Attackers can use this amalgamated data to create highly convincing deepfakes or synthetic identities that are extremely difficult to distinguish from genuine users. This makes it challenging for biometric systems to detect imposters, potentially leading to widespread security breaches.

3. Third-Party Centralization

The reliance on centralized third-party providers for biometric data storage and processing introduces significant supply chain risks. Many organizations use cloud services from companies like Microsoft, Google, or Snowflake to manage their biometric systems. A breach or vulnerability in these providers could have an exponential impact, potentially compromising the biometric data of millions of users across multiple organizations simultaneously. This centralization creates a single point of failure that attackers can target for maximum effect.

Biometric Data Breaches: Real Life Examples

real world examples - Biometric Data Breach

In August 2019, a major security breach was discovered in a biometric system used by banks, UK police, and defense firms. The breach exposed fingerprints and facial recognition data of over a million people, as well as unencrypted usernames and passwords.

The system, maintained by Suprema, a security company, was found to have vulnerabilities that allowed researchers to access sensitive information. This incident raised significant concerns about the security of biometric data and the potential risks associated with centralized databases storing such sensitive information.

The breach highlighted the need for improved security measures and stricter regulations in handling biometric data, especially given its increasing use in various sectors for authentication and identification purposes.

BioStar 2, a Suprema-based security platform

Security researchers with Vpnmentor discovered an unencrypted database on August 5, 2019, belonging to Suprema, a global biometrics, security, and identity company. This database, which belonged to BioStar 2, a Suprema-based security platform, contained information from over 1 million people worldwide, totaling 28 million records. The exposed information included data such as fingerprint data, facial recognition data, user face photos, unencrypted usernames and passwords, logs of facility access, security levels, clearance, and personal details of staff.

Thousands of companies used BioStar 2 for its web-based security platform. This platform is a biometrics lock system that uses fingerprints and facial recognition for access control. The security researchers found that the BioStar’s database was unprotected, which could allow unauthorized access to the information and potential data theft.

Other Major Data Losses

Anonybit’s Integrated Identity Management Platform

At Anonybit, our decentralized biometrics system design helps companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud. With a decentralized biometrics solution, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, and help desk authentication. We are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeovers, and synthetic identity fraud.

To achieve this goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 biometric authentication and 1:N biometric matching to prevent duplicates, synthetics and blocklisted identities 

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, enable strong authentication to eliminate account takeovers, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit.

Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

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How Does Biometrics Get Hacked?

deep fake tech for Biometric Data Breach

Hacking biometrics involves circumventing the security measures designed to protect our identities. Let us examine the various methods employed in this domain:

Synthetic Identities and Generated Biometrics

Hackers can create synthetic identities paired with fabricated biometric data to deceive security systems. This tactic is akin to wearing a disguise and effortlessly bypassing security checks.

Deepfake Technology

Deepfake technology enables the creation of convincing fake videos or images that can trick biometric verification systems. This technology, reminiscent of science fiction, poses serious security risks.

Database Theft

Hackers can steal biometric data from databases and use it to recreate an individual’s biometric profile. This method is comparable to copying someone’s keys and gaining unauthorized access to their home.

System Exploitation

Identifying and exploiting vulnerabilities within biometric systems allows hackers to bypass security checks. This approach is similar to discovering a crack in a fortress wall and slipping through unnoticed.

Social Engineering

Through social engineering, hackers manipulate individuals into granting them access. This method involves convincing victims to authorize the hacker, akin to talking one’s way past a bouncer.

Understanding these techniques highlights the importance of maintaining robust security measures to protect biometric data. Staying informed and vigilant will help safeguard our identities against these sophisticated threats.

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Book A Free Demo To Learn More About Our Integrated Identity Management Platform

At Anonybit, we help companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud with our decentralized biometrics technology. With our decentralized biometrics framework, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, help desk authentication, and more. 

Comprehensive Security Solutions for Companies

We aim to protect companies from data breaches, account takeovers, synthetic identity on the rise, privacy regulations, and digital transformation. To achieve this goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 authentication and 1:N matching for lookups and deduplication

Balancing Privacy and Security with Anonybit’s Integrated Platform

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, reduce account takeover fraud, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit. Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

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