Consumers are still worried about identity theft and would be willing to use biometrics to confirm their identity, according to a survey from Unisys, the Blue Bell, Pa.-based systems integrator.
More than 70% of respondents will trust banks and government agencies to ask them for biometric data for identity verification. Fingerprints also nearly tied passwords as the primary preferred authentication method, 73% percent to 72%, respectively.
The biometrics survey was conducted alongside the latest installment of the Unisys Security Index, which found that a majority of Americans continue to have concerns about identity theft and fraud with their credit and debit cards. Sixty-two percent of Americans said they were extremely or very concerned about the safety of their personal information, and 60% expressed serious concern about credit and debit card fraud.
The Unisys Security Index is a biannual study that gauges consumers’ views about key security issues. Each survey also includes supplemental research on a security niche topic such as the current data on biometric authentication methods.
Additional key findings of the most recent research include:
- Older and higher income groups significantly favor fingerprint scans, with 76% of people between 35 and 49 years old and 50 to 64 years old, and 79% of people earning $50,000 or more approving this verification method.
- Additional consumer preferences for authentication include photographs (69%), personal identification numbers (69%), eye scans (61%), voice recognition (55%), and face scans (52%).
- Americans are significantly less supportive of hand / blood vessel scans, with only 43% favoring this authentication method.
- Men and women are willing to use biometrics to verify their identity at similar rates. However, women are less supportive of advanced methods such as eye scans (57%) and hand scans (39%) when compared with men, 66% and 47%, respectively.
“Despite ongoing fears about identity theft and fraud, and a willingness by consumers to adopt biometric technology, many organizations have yet to embrace this technology as an effective way to protect data and identities,” said Mark Cohn, vice president of enterprise security at Unisys. “Risk management only gets more challenging with the current financial crisis. Sophisticated cybercriminals know how to take advantage of increasing consumer anxiety as well as perhaps weaker internal controls at banks as a result of layoffs and reorganizations. Adoption of advanced biometric technologies as a critical security measure is a possible solution, but it also must be augmented with best practices and stringent policies and procedures.”