MasterCard’s Biometric Chip is a Win for Consumers.
To make for a safer more secure customer transaction and hence better service, Mastercard has come up with another authentication measure as a check on fraudulent transactions. The company is set for a trial of the new card that comes with an embedded fingerprint reader and a biometric chip. The bankcard is expected to see trials in Europe and APAC after its successful trials in South Africa.
The latest measures are a part of the biometric authentication process. The company expects to start rollout by the end of this year.
Using the card is as easy as inserting the bankcard into the point-of-sale terminal and placing your finger or thumb on the reader. Immediately, the payment is authenticated. However, there is an alternative for inserting PIN if the biometric system is not working or the customer’s finger is sweaty.
To start, MasterCard biometric chip card users will need to go to a bank branch to register their fingerprint. The biometrics will be converted into an encrypted template. This dos seem like a small hassle, but it makes transactions a lot more secure.
A biometric system is likely to offer additional security to consumers. But this does not mean biometrics do not have security issues. If your biometric data is hacked, there is no way out, unlike the case of a stolen password that you can change and create an even stronger one. In the case of biometric data, data once gone is forever gone.
What Should Be Done
A biometric system should not allow storing a digital copy of the biometrics. Rather, it should be in the form of a hash. When scanned, data taken from the biometric turns it to a verification feature. This means the actual biometric, which may be a fingerprint or eye scan, is not stored in the system. In the event of hacking, the criminal cannot generate the fingerprint from the stored hash. Though complex, this kind of feature serves the purpose of data security.
The new biometric chip to be introduced by MasterCard will have a backup pin. This creates another entry point for hackers.
What is the Best Way Out?
Given the security risk associated with biometric chips, should we consider the next generation MasterCard bankcard as ineffective?
Well, there are ways to harness the potential of biometrics to strengthen security of data. One way is to integrate them as an add-on to other security features, including password.
The hacker would need:
- Access to your biometric data
- Your password
This surely looks challenging for the bad guys.
The more walls you put up to safeguard yourself, the more secure you are likely to be. So you can keep yourself immune from data theft. After all, hackers always eye easy targets, which are easy to breach and involve the least amount of effort.
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