The world of technology advancements has opened us up to several possibilities that were once considered a pipe dream. Although many offer convenience and have positively impacted ample aspects of society, it must be acknowledged that it has also opened us up to vulnerabilities – especially for our digital and biometric data.
As the use of technology grows and infiltrates many areas of a consumer’s daily life, so their digital identities cultivate, forming clusters of key insights and data into who they are, what they like, where they reside and work, who they bank with and what online shops they visit frequently.
Riaan Badenhorst, General Manager of Kaspersky Lab in Africa, said: “While one may not give this a second thought, the data accumulated as part of our digital identities holds massive value, especially to the cybercriminal world, where we continue to see such data being exploited for financial gain. It is with this in mind that the protection of digital identities should be a key concern for the growing digital population.”
However, it is not just digital data that needs such attention.
“There is massive value held in our data, including biometric data, for its proven authenticity and the ability it provides to organisations and employers to verify individuals to know who they are dealing with,” said Pine Pienaar, Managing Director of Afiswitch.
“While it may prove more difficult to steal or copy biometric data such as fingerprints or facial features, given the increase we have seen in threats posed on all digital data by fake personas, scammers and cybercriminals, it cannot be ruled out as impossible.”
With data hacking having emerged as a massive threat that can lead to many dangerous outcomes, including identify fraud, financial loss or breaches of confidential information, the protection and management of digital and biometric data needs the right attention and security measures, from both a consumer and corporate perspective.
Badenhorst added: “Any device that a consumer uses that allows for data exchange should have some level of security protection installed – be it baseline anti-virus or a more robust offering if the device is used for aspects like online banking, shopping for work emails. Over and above device protection, consumers must also practice caution while online and institute proactive measures, such as password protection, for securing their digital identities.”
The protection of biometric data on the other hand relies heavily on the protection services industry, along with businesses and governments to make use of secure flexible identity platforms and a secure Internet connection when dealing with biometric data capture, that provide users with the right security protection.
Individuals, corporate and private enterprises that require biometric services or are building such services into their business models and are making use of fingerprint capturing for the purpose of identity verification, must only make use of accredited companies offering such services to achieve these protection requirements.
Pienaar added: “With global biometrics use set to grow over the next few years, matters related to security of biometrics data should be a key consideration for any industry wanting to benefit from biometrics solutions, where partnering with the right provider becomes critical.
“Biometrics solutions are being relied upon more, offering confidence in the ability of any system, programme or application to truly verify an individual’s identity, emphasising the value biometric data holds. The value of this data is paramount and therefore deserves the utmost respect and protection.”