The following is a guest post submitted to M2SYS by Alastair Brian. He is the writer from “FMEModules” – a brand well known for top of the line reliable PrestaShop Add-ons, themes, extensions and services. Follow him on Twitter, LinkedIn.
E-commerce websites have to confront serious security issues due to the vulnerability of online fraud, hacking, spamming, and theft of confidential data. The security of an online store is not only significant for the owners to run business operations smoothly, but it is more important for consumers to keep their personal and financial details secret.
In order to provide a secure shopping platform, eStores use different forms of authentication systems, and biometrics is considered the most effective of all. Unlike conventional authentication processes, biometrics does not require customers to set a password, keep remembering it and hide it from others.
Biometrics – A brief introduction
An automated system that measures the physical characteristics of an individual to recognize his or her identity is called biometric verification. It replaces the traditional verification methods of showing identity cards or entering passwords with the scanning of fingerprints, face, or a palm. Biometrics also includes the identification of behavioral aspects such as voice, signature or the way a user strikes the keys on a keyboard.
E-commerce is a booming industry where the main concern of every business owner is to provide the maximum level of comfort and security to consumers. Biometrics assists customers in retaining their identity rather than remembering passwords, codes, or secret questions. Passwords can be stolen by surrounding people or cracked by hackers, whereas the authentication of fingerprints cannot be forged. You can go through the ABC’s of biometrics in our detailed article.
Benefits of biometrics – A quick overview
- An end to stolen or forgotten passwords
- Automatic positive identification of users
- Enhanced security measures
- Forging is made difficult for intruders
- Non-transferrable accounts
How does biometrics ensure the security of eCommerce websites?
Biometrics has evolved into a secure user identification system that is more convenient and appealing. Unlike conventional security measures, it does not require users to carry an identity card, a token or long passwords to access different accounts. All it requires is their physique or behavioral aspect which completely belongs to them, and they don’t have to carry it separately.
Different technologies of biometrics distinguish users with a unique identity which is hard to attain for others. For example, our fingerprints are unique to every other person in the world. If a user opts to be recognized by his or her fingerprints, the system will only allow access to an account if an exact match of fingerprints is provided against a stored template. The following examples are some of the biometric modalities that may help an ecommerce website to tighten their security measures by replacing old and easily crack able authentication procedures. Implementing these measures are very easy because each shopping cart platform such as PrestaShop offers modules for this purpose.
Fingerprints are among the oldest traits of biometrics used for recognition because of the lining pattern that varies person to person. A scanner recognizes a person’s identity by matching the pattern of furrows and ridges of the fingerprints with that in the records. The technology studies every print deeply to match every minute detail. The uniqueness of such traits signifies every individual from another and restricts intruders from gaining access to a user’s account.
Voice recognition belongs to behavioral biometrics of an individual and considered an effective technique in safeguarding user accounts from fake access. In comparison to other verification methods, users can easily find microphones for signing in to their accounts rather than paying for fingerprint scanners or iris cameras. It is a low-cost security check for website managers as well as consumers.
Facial biometrics is a widely acceptable method for granting secure access to online shops. It works by scanning the face of every individual, capturing it in an image or video, and transforming it into a code to be compared with the already available code in the database.
The applications for facial recognition to scan different facial expressions and nodal points ensures correct identification of an individual. This gives the freedom to users of a website to gain access from a distant place and bar intruders who can forge fingerprints with rubber stamps or produce a familiar voice. Due to the convenience and increased efficiency of this technology, experts are speculating the inclusion of facial recognition for border security in the near future.
Palm-print or hand geometry
Hand Geometry is also an effective biometric that recognizes the identity of users by reading their hands. This goes a step further than fingerprints where a thumb or index finger is scanned for verification, whereas hand geometry takes into account different dimensions of the palm and finger against the records in a file. It is one of the commonly used biometric for authenticating users.
Having biometrics is more secure than traditional verification methods
Most e-commerce website users set passwords they can easily remember. It may include a name, cell number, birthday, etc. and in pursuit of setting up an easy password, users also pose a threat for their passwords being cracked or guessed by their closed ones.
Furthermore, some users like to set a single password over multiple channels like email, social accounts, and shopping accounts. It is always advisable to set different passwords and change it frequently after a month or two, which is a cumbersome job for most people. They do not bother to replace the password, and the result? An intruder gets access to most of their accounts after cracking the single one. Biometrics sets them free from remembering and changing passwords.
Online users also face problems of keeping their passwords secret. To be on the safe side, they set up a longer password which is hard to guess or crack, but in order to remember it, they may either write it on a pad or create an MS Excel sheet to keep a record of all their passwords. If the pad or sheet is exposed to colleagues, and they try to log in an eCommerce website on their behalf, the system cannot recognize if it is an actual user or not.
In comparison to conventional procedures for user authentication, biometrics makes it more difficult for intruders to copy or forge physical or behavioral identification credentials of a consumer.