For the future of your company's identity security, you can not stop at physical biometric authentication. You must also implement behavioral biometrics to truly verify each user and their accounts.
Behavior biometrics offers a new way for companies' authentication schemes. In general, biometric authentication factors do not face the same problems as more traditional passwords.
For example, users may forget or lose their passwords, which could compromise their accounts with hackers or internal threats. Meanwhile, users can not forget exactly their fingerprints or lose them in the event of a serious accident.
Also, unlike other two-factor authentication schemes, hackers can not interfere with or intercept biometric factors. Biometrics It can also help to establish the context of the access request, which is not done by passwords or tokens. It also offers another factor for multifactor authentication and incremental authentication; In general, the more factors there are between the applicant and the network, the better.
However, physics biometric authentication You can still present unique challenges to the security of your identity. Behavioral biometrics allows companies to implement zero-trust authentication in users as they comply with their business processes.
What are behavioral biometrics?
In the management of access and identity of the next generation, the logins require more than passwords (something the user knows). Often, they also ask for something that the user has in their possession, like a hard token in traditional schemes.
At its core, biometric authentication takes the latter to the next level. With it, users can now use their fingerprints, lilies, faces or voices to verify their identities. As a result, biometric authentication receives a reputation for convenience. After all, users always have these authentication factors and, in general, they can enter them when they are requested without problems.
In addition, biometrics is much more popular than passwords, and for good reason; Even an inexperienced hacker can decipher or guess most passwords. Of course, your efforts are reinforced by users who frequently reuse their passwords or select weak passwords like "123456." In addition, hackers often use previously stolen passwords to complement their credential padding attacks.
In contrast, behavioral biometrics uses a more abstract factor in its authentication: the human behaviors of users in their endpoints. Measurable behaviors can include keypad dynamics, mouse usage, signature analysis (when appropriate), and cognitive biometrics.
Let's look at this in more detail.
Types of behavioral biometrics
Of course, this list does not constitute an extensive list of possible behavioral factors for identity authentication. However, this list can help you think about your own authentication policies. How does your identity security solution compare? Do you use these factors already? If not, can you incorporate them?
Key dynamics: This refers to the measures of a user's behaviors and writing patterns. IAM solution providers, such as Optimal IdM, argue that writing patterns are often as unique as fingerprints. You can monitor how people write certain words, how fast, etc.
Mouse dynamics: This resembles the keystroke dynamics, but instead measures the clicks and movements of the mouse. Your IT security team may be surprised at how individual each user is at their endpoints.
Analysis of the signature: This refers to software in which a user can physically sign a digital copy of a document with his finger or a pencil. The analysis engine recognizes the different movement time in a baseline signature and, therefore, recognizes the discrepancies if they occur.
Cognitive biometrics: Perhaps the most abstract of the abstract factors, cognitive biometrics includes their daily actions in the network.
For example, if each day begins reviewing communications by email, the engine recognizes that behavior. Then he establishes the behavior as a baseline, with which he monitors the discrepancies. Therefore, if a hacker pretends to be you and immediately tries to access a sensitive database, the IAM solution will detect a possible security event and block access.
Now that we understand better the "what" of behavioral biometrics, one question remains: why?
Why behavioral biometrics?
We established above some of the many, many problems with passwords. Suffice it to say that most business data violations start with stolen single factor credentials.
However, the power of behavioral biometrics extends beyond safety and comfort. In fact, this kind of biometrics offers something that few other authentication factors can provide: continuous authentication.
As a general rule, companies must operate under the Zero Trust Identity security model. This means that you should never rely on any access request, even from previously approved users, with prior verification. Your company must treat any entity (human or non-human) that connects to its environment as unreliable until it can demonstrate otherwise.
For managing the identity and access of many companies, Zero Trust can resemble a TSA checkpoint; users must go through multiple security checks even before approaching the plane, and must present their ticket at the door.
However, hackers can still exploit some fundamental weaknesses in typical authentication. Even the most advanced physical biometry still works with a binary model, whether authenticated or not. It still constitutes a one-time question, a simple yes or no.
External threat actors can take full advantage of this binary system. For example, a hacker could wait for an employee to log in before taking malicious control of their access. Once inside, without some kind of control, hackers can wreak havoc on your digital assets.
As another example, hackers could steal an employee's endpoint and use their saved login information.
Conversely, behavioral biometrics constantly states that the user is still within the reference behaviors. While the hacker can still penetrate their IT environment, their behaviors will be so clearly different from those of the legitimate user that they should activate their identity security protocols.
Get your identity security in order
The heart and soul of identity management and access are found in their authentication. The stronger your authentication, the stronger your company will be against external and internal threat actors.
Behavioral biometrics allows its authentication to monitor its users continuously rather than just at the entrance. It establishes a set of reference behaviors that allows the security of your identity to recognize hackers posing as legitimate users.
If you want more information about biometric authentication and its diversity, you should consult our 2019 Buyer's Guide. We list the main suppliers of the market, their key capabilities and our baseline in each one.
Ben Canner is a business technology writer and analyst who covers identity management, SIEM, Endpoint Protection and Cybersecurity. He has a degree in English from Clark University in Worcester, MA. Previously, he worked as a corporate blogger and ghostwriter. You can contact him via Twitter and LinkedIn.