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Old 10-03-2010, 01:20 AM   #76
EricDP
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Biometric data would be much more secure than signatures, even in their present state, which could use better security around them. Why anyone relies on signatures these days is beyond me.
Biometrics are also easy to forge.You can only change which finger you're using so many times - eventually, everybody has scans of all your fingers and can reproduce them whenever required.
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Old 10-03-2010, 05:19 AM   #77
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Biometrics are also easy to forge.You can only change which finger you're using so many times - eventually, everybody has scans of all your fingers and can reproduce them whenever required.

you can reproduce your fingers .... !
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Old 10-03-2010, 12:48 PM   #78
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Biometrics are also easy to forge.You can only change which finger you're using so many times - eventually, everybody has scans of all your fingers and can reproduce them whenever required.
Biometric systems are more than storing pictures of fingerprints (and when that's all they are, you're defeating the purpose... sort of like printing out electronic documents). A proper biometric system will only accept live scans, not pictures. You shouldn't have to "change fingers," and you only need to scan one to confirm your identity.

BTW, the "Mission: Impossible" stuff, making fake fingertips to scan you through security systems? Sci-fi. Modern scanners know better.
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Old 10-03-2010, 07:48 PM   #79
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A proper biometric system...
Ah, yes, and there is the problem... assuming the system is proper. In most scenarios where people talk about biometrics, the 'authority' doesn't actually have control of the scanner.

I agree for things like an entrance to a secure facility, where the scanner is built into the wall with a security guard watching you scan your print/retina, etc., it's very difficult to trick. Modern scanners don't actually look at your fingerprints, they look at the blood vessels under the skin. They even know if the finger is dead, so you can't cut somebody's finger off and use it. Pretty close to impossible to defeat.

But people are talking about biometrics for consumers to use. They talk about scenarios like scanners built into laptops to be used to verify people for online transactions. How do you know it's actually the print reader sending you the data? Could it be software impersonating a print reader with a database of scans to send?

People are talking about biometrics at retail stores to verify credit cards. But today one of the most common card frauds is when the pin-pad is replaced with a fake. The same could happen with a retail reader.

Think of any scenario where the reader is not physical locked into place, monitored, and controlled by the authority, and you have a scenario where the reader might not actually be a biometric reader. It's a fake reader sending whatever data the fraudster has in a database.

And after the credit card company loses the millions of records it has on file (and this seems to happen all too regularly), then what? You can't just get a new card and put a new PIN on it. And what if you need to use your biometric for a company you don't fully trust? I use a different password in those cases, so I don't compromise my important ones.

Most people only have eight fingers and two thumbs for their lifetime. You run out pretty fast.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:05 AM   #80
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Or, put simply: logical security is meaningless without physical security.
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Old 10-04-2010, 06:10 AM   #81
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in other words nothing is foolproof forever ....
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Old 10-04-2010, 08:36 AM   #82
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I hope not!

I do a lot of reading in the restroom. . .
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Old 10-04-2010, 10:49 AM   #83
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I work with many people in the course of my employment that are either unable to use technology or don't have access to technology due to economic hardship. For these people, paper is cheap and flexible. Until biometrics and other technology becomes so ubiquitous that even those living hand to mouth can afford it, I think paper will persist.
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Old 10-04-2010, 11:59 AM   #84
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Ah, yes, and there is the problem...
Even accepting all the problems you just ran off, biometrics are still more secure than signatures. And there's no reason the security can't be improved (it's just one more area where digital security systems, left as an afterthought for so long, must be updated and hardened to deal with today's real threats).

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I work with many people in the course of my employment that are either unable to use technology or don't have access to technology due to economic hardship. For these people, paper is cheap and flexible. Until biometrics and other technology becomes so ubiquitous that even those living hand to mouth can afford it, I think paper will persist.
Well, there's no reason it won't become ubiquitous in time. Today, in towns in third-world countries, some of the poorest places on the planet, everyone owns a cellphone, or at least owns one for a group or community. Information is being passed faster from place to place because of it. The ubiquitousness of technology is happening.
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