May 12, 2023

Anonybit Team

6 Measures To Prevent Biometric Identity Theft & Protect Biometric Data

Blog person trying to hack sensitive data - Biometric Identity Theft

Biometric authentication techniques are increasingly prevalent in our daily lives, from unlocking smartphones with facial recognition to accessing secure facilities with fingerprint scans. The rise in biometric identity theft poses a significant risk for individuals and organizations alike. Imagine a scenario where your biometric information, the ultimate form of personal identification, is compromised and used for fraudulent activities without your knowledge. How can you safeguard yourself against such threats? This blog will discuss biometric identity theft, offering insights on understanding and protecting against this type of fraud.

Anonybit’s identity management platform provides a robust solution to help you achieve your goals. Whether you aim to understand biometric identity fraud, learn how to prevent it, or enhance your security measures, Anonybit offers a valuable resource to safeguard your identity and personal information effectively.

What Is Biometric Identity Theft?

person trying to hack data - Biometric Identity Theft

Biometric identity theft occurs when someone steals or replicates your unique biological traits—like fingerprints, facial features, or voice patterns—to impersonate you. Unlike traditional identity theft, which involves stealing information like your Social Security number or credit card details, biometric identity theft involves your physical or behavioral characteristics. This type of theft can be particularly concerning because, unlike passwords, you can’t easily change your biometrics.

Biometric data includes various types


Often used for unlocking devices and accessing secure areas.

Facial Recognition

Utilized in smartphones and security systems to verify identity.

Iris Scans

Known for high accuracy, used in some security and identification systems.

Voice Recognition

Employed in virtual assistants and customer service verification.

Each data type is unique to the individual, making them highly secure in theory, but also highly sensitive if compromised.

As far as types of identity theft go, biometrics hacking, may bedifficult to pull off. But it’s not impossible.

Hackers have found ways to bypass biometric authentication and even steal biometric data. Once they do, it becomes impossible to ensure that someone is who they claim to be or not. In an age of increasingly sophisticated cyber attacks, hackers can use stolen biometric data and combine it with other stolen personal information to access your most sensitive and vulnerable information that can be used for identity fraud. According to research, 33 million (1 in 6) Americans lost money to identity theft in 2019. 

Related Reading

How Biometric Identity Theft Occurs

person behind a mask - Biometric Identity Theft

Hackers can access biometric data by targeting company databases where this sensitive information is stored. These breaches can occur through various methods, such as phishing attacks, malware, or exploiting company security infrastructure vulnerabilities. Once hackers gain access, they can steal or leak biometric data, leading to significant security risks.

From Equifax to Biometrics

Data breaches are becoming increasingly common, from the massive Equifax data breach to social media sites like Facebook and LinkedIn. Biometric databases can also be hacked and leaked. In 2019, a major data breach at a security company used by banks, the police, and defense firms leaked over a million people’s fingerprints and other biometric data. In 2015, the U.S. Government Office of Personnel Management system containing the fingerprints of government employees and contractors was breached as well. There have been several other high-profile biometric data breaches over the years.

Social Engineering and Exploiting Human Error

Like most data breaches, hackers don’t always need sophisticated cyber attacks like malware to bypass a company’s cybersecurity. Often, they only need to trick employees into giving them access through phishing emails or other social engineering attacks. And since biometric data is typically stored in a central repository linked to other user information, gaining access to the biometric repository provides access to an entire user dossier.

Balancing Convenience and Security

Be cautious about who you share your biometric data with. Unfortunately, this is getting harder to do as governments and companies collect more biometric data.

Security and authentication companies that store biometrics on a decentralized system provide more secure means of protecting your biometric data than those who store them on centralized systems. For instance, Anonybit’s technology stores biometrics in anonymous bits on a decentralized system, rendering them useless in case of a data breach.  

Spoofing Attacks

Spoofing attacks involve replicating biometric data to deceive authentication systems. For example, criminals can create fake fingerprints using molds, or generate deep fake videos to mimic someone’s facial movements. These techniques are becoming increasingly sophisticated, making it crucial to enhance security measures around biometric systems. Liveness detection software detects deep fakes and presentation attacks and are critical to effective biometric deployments in an age of generative AI.

Device Vulnerabilities

Devices that store or process biometric data, like smartphones or biometric scanners, can have vulnerabilities that hackers exploit. Weak encryption, outdated software, or insecure connections can all serve as entry points for attackers. Ensuring devices are regularly updated and equipped with strong security protocols is essential to prevent exploitation.

Biometric authentication is meant to provide an extra layer of security, but vulnerabilities can allow hackers to bypass it. Outdated software, weak encryption, and insecure connections are common entry points that attackers exploit to gain unauthorized access to devices storing biometric data, such as smartphones and biometric scanners.

Android malware families like Chameleon have emerged with capabilities to bypass fingerprint locks and biometric prompts. One technique Chameleon uses is interrupting biometric operations through the KeyguardManager API and AccessibilityEvent to transition from biometric to PIN authentication, allowing the malware to unlock devices using stolen PINs.

Other methods to bypass biometric authentication on Android include instrumentation frameworks like Frida to hook into authentication callbacks and mock successful authentication, reverse engineering apps to modify authentication code, and brute-forcing fingerprint images through vulnerabilities in fingerprint scanner defenses.

To prevent such exploitation attempts, devices must be regularly updated, biometric data stored using strong encryption, and secure authentication protocols implemented.

Secure Logins and Identity Verification for Businesses

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.

Consequences Of Biometric Identity Theft

404 error on screen - Biometric Identity Theft

The Personal Impact of Biometric Identity Theft

Imagine your fingerprints, face, or voice being stolen and misused—it’s not just unsettling, it’s dangerous. The loss of privacy is immense; your unique biological traits, which you can’t change like passwords, are out there. This could lead to financial damage, too. Thieves could access your bank accounts, take out loans in your name, or commit fraud, leaving you with a mess to clean up and a lingering sense of vulnerability.

The Corporate and Societal Impact of Biometric Identity Theft

Biometric breaches can be catastrophic for businesses. Companies could face massive financial hits due to legal fees, compensation costs, and the need to implement stronger security measures. The breach of trust can damage reputations, making customers wary of engaging with them.

On a broader scale, society might lose confidence in biometric technologies altogether. This could slow the adoption of advanced security systems, impeding progress and innovation in numerous fields. The ripple effects of biometric breaches can be far-reaching, affecting everyone, from individual users to entire industries.

Related Reading

5 Measures To Prevent Biometric Identity Theft

person trying to counter - Biometric Identity Theft

1. Choose a Distributed Identity Management Platform

When it comes to storing biometric data, security is paramount. Opt for platforms that use decentralized storage. For instance, Anonybit’s technology breaks down biometric data into anonymous bits and stores them across a decentralized network. This means that even if hackers breach the system, they can’t reassemble the biometrics, rendering the data useless.

2. Eliminate Key Management

To prevent even insiders from accessing the biometric data, stay away from systems that convert biometrics to tokens or encrypted data sets that are managed by a set of keys tied to an individual. This will reduce the chance that any single actor can be compromised willingly or unwillingly.

Regularly Update Software and Devices

Keeping your devices and software up to date is crucial. Manufacturers often release updates to fix security vulnerabilities. Regularly updating ensures that your biometric systems are protected against the latest threats. Enable automatic updates where possible to stay ahead of potential exploits.

4. Educate Yourself and Your Team

Knowledge is power when it comes to security. Educate yourself and your team about best practices for handling biometric data. Awareness of common threats and how to avoid them can significantly reduce the risk of biometric identity theft. Regular training sessions can help keep everyone informed and vigilant.

5. Data Privacy Compliance

Ensure compliance with relevant data privacy laws and regulations, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Implement privacy-enhancing technologies and practices to safeguard customer data.

Related Reading

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 are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeovers and 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.

Be the first to know the latest news, product updates, and more from Anonybit