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Majority of Brits distrust biometric security, study reveals

Survey suggests most people would rather use a traditional password than fingerprint or facial recognition

Password

The majority of British people do not trust biometric data, preferring to use traditional passwords for their online activity, according to a new survey.

Email provider GMX, which commissioned the study from YouGov, found that more than 60 per cent of the public would rather use passwords that biometric logins and more than 40 per cent do not want companies to have any access to their biometric information.

"The survey shows that biometric log-in methods are far from becoming a mass market," said GMX CEO Jan Oetjen. "In order to meet the concerns of the users, providers have to fulfill high data protection requirements concerning the storage and use of biometrical data."

In fact, just 15 per cent of the survey's 2,000 respondents used fingerprint authentication, while facial, voice and iris recognition are used by less than 5 per cent in total.

For 41 per cent, this is down to fears that a malfunction will leave them locked out of their own accounts, while one-third fear their biometric information could fall into the hands of criminals.

In fact, while 26 per cent thought that biometric data makes a good complement to standard passwords, only five per cent of Brits feel that biometric logins are totally free of risk.

Biometric authentication is another example of security being sacrificed for the sake of convenience, Echoworx CEO Mike Ginsberg told IT Pro. "Thumbprints are convenient," he said; "passwords aren't."

"Where's that thumbprint being stored? Because if someone gets my thumbrint, I can't change my thumbprint."

The news also comes at a time when more and more tech companies are pushing biometric authentication methods as the future.

Microsoft has emphasised the improved Windows Hello biometric login features of the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, while Samsung has just introduced an iris scanner to its Note 7 phablet.

In addition, Barclays Bank recently announced it would be rolling out voice authentication for telephone banking customers, in order to decrease reliance on passwords.

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