Biometric authentication system has become a mainstream solution across industries and devices. From securing highly confidential data to unlocking smartphones, biometrics have eliminated the hassles of remembering multiple complex passwords and PINs. It means that nobody can gain access to a device or system without your presence.
Being unique and unstolen/unshared, biometric systems have gained a lot of market share for multi factor authentication and other security systems. As per a market report, biometric systems market is poised to surpass the figure of $ 32.77 billion by 2022 with a CAGR of 16.79. Face recognition and fingerprint scans have become hot selling features in high end smartphones. Biometric technology is getting embedded into every face of technology users.
What is Biometric Data?
Simply put, biometric data is any kind of data that represents physical characteristics of a human being. Today’s devices and security systems normal leverage biometric data of voice inputs, fingerprints, iris scans and facial images. This data is used to authenticate the identity of user and provide required access. Being unique and uncopyable, authentication through biometric data is more reliable, secure and efficient.
Biometric system is loved for its potential to reduce the limitations of existing security systems and eliminate data breach activities; it is not easy to implement and apply biometric. Enterprises face various challenges that could hamper the pace of integration.
Biometric works by authenticating the personal data of user. Hence, any breach of security could lead to major personal data loss and could also pose a financial risk to the organization. To ensure biometric data is leveraged behind a foolproof security layer, it is crucial to conduct biometric data testing at all the touchpoints.
Here are four major security challenges that can be curbed through biometric data testing.
Secure Collection Of Biometric Data
To ensure optimum performance of the application, it is crucial to have accurate and adequate amount of real world data. However, the challenge here is that unlike data samples leveraged to test ordinary application, biometric data is unique, sensitive and the user might not share the details to safeguard their privacy. In such scenarios, mobile app companies are only left with one solution; i.e. to request real world users to collect biometric data.
Besides, there are also various kinds of ethics and compliance issues that could arise while collecting real biometric data from the real world. This makes the entire process more complex and risky.
However, one of the most efficient ways to handle this situation is to collect credible biometric data and create a continuous loop of testing. Keep in mind that the test case is able to identify issues related to sensors or biometric data in production in case you fail to find out them during the testing phase.
Secure Storage of Data
Enterprises are facing the biggest challenge of ensuring secure storage of iris scans, fingerprints and other biometrics data. Like any other data, biometric data is also stored on a device or database and if any cyber intruder gains access to it, then the entire system could get compromised within seconds. Breach of personal data of users would also cost brand reputation, customers and expensive lawsuits.
Biometric data is unique and always associated with the end user, hence any breach in data security could lead to catastrophic results. This is why, it is crucial for QA and Automated Software Testing teams to comply with various all the data privacy standards and compliance of the land that deals with data.
QA teams need to work closely with security teams and legal experts to ensure that the application is leveraging biometric data securely and responsibly. Aside, test engineers need to run usability tests to find out what information users are comfortable sharing. This will help in creating an app that will have a positive impact on the end user.
Technology can always fail. Biometric authentication system can also act in an unpredictable manner or even crash to process the biometric data as per the expectation. Hence, it is crucial for the QA team to maintain a backup input mechanism to ensure application performance and availability level.
In layman’s terms, organizations and app development companies should need to have a secondary password authentication system or any other conventional security test embedded in the application. This secondary security mechanism can be leveraged in case users fail to provide biometric data or application is unable to detect biometric credentials due to failure of the hardware including camera or fingerprint scanner.
Software test engineers should also look at the possibility of creating a copy of biometric authentication system of your application and urging users to submit their biometric data there.
Simulation of Biometric Data
One of the biggest challenges with biometric data testing is that is not easy to mimic the biometric credentials. In other terms, it is not possible to simulate biometric data while conducting performance tests on simulated devices. Aside, it is also cumbersome to efficiently test all the parameters and values in an artificially simulated test environment. Hence, QA and software testing teams face the challenge to conduct QA on real devices. However, it helps in validating the capability of applications in real time on real device. Hence, the test results are more robust and reliable.
In the wake of data security threats, governments all over the world are tightening data security compliance to safeguard the interests of users. Regulations including Europe’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) and GDPR require users to facilitate stronger than password authentication solution that is powered with specific capabilities to ensure total control over users’ data and enforce strict penalties for non-compliance.
These directives and compliance should be considered thoroughly and factored in to ensure data is used and stored as per the law of the land.
Biometric systems have become the benchmark technology to ensure impenetrable security and compliance. The disruptive technology has redefined the way security is seen. However, the technology itself is still at a very nascent stage and needs greater innovation for greater integration into mobile devices and security systems.