Why Chip and PIN Is Obsolete … And So Are Fingerprints

Guest post by Simon Crouch, assistant brand manager, Hitachi Europe Ltd.

Simon Crouch
Simon Crouch

We live in a world where data and deception go hand in hand. So many everyday activities – from online shopping and banking to emailing and paying bills – are governed by passwords, profiles and personal details.

And as people’s phones, cars, and homes get smarter and more connected, the number of ways criminals can try and access and abuse your personal information is only going to rise.

Most people rely heavily on passwords to protect their information. But as quickly as organizations and financial institutions create safer and safer systems, hackers are finding smarter ways to commit cybercrime, and there are more and more cases of identity theft.

The payments landscape

For debit and credit card purchases and online banking, suppliers are making a shift from chip and PIN to contactless and app-based payment technologies, but these still have one thing in common – a thief who steals your card or phone might still be able to access your cash or personal information.

Finger vein recognition

Biometrics technology has been the focus of new innovative ways of authenticating people’s identities. Biometrics includes fingerprints, iris scanning, and facial recognition, but it’s finger vein recognition that looks set to shake up the way we secure our data.

Leading scientists at Hitachi, which patented the technology in 2005, has been developing new ways to incorporate VeinID into the everyday payments and personal data landscape.

How does it work?

The Hitachi sensor works by transmitting near-infrared light through the finger. This is partially absorbed by haemoglobin in your veins, which enables the device to capture your unique finger vein pattern profile. This is then matched with your account’s pre-registered profile to confirm your identity.

But what makes VeinID more safe and secure than other types of passwords and security options?

 Your veins are unique

 No two people, even identical twins, have the same finger vein pattern. And while most people have unique fingerprints, you leave fingerprints on objects you touch, making it possible for criminals to lift and replicate for their own use. As your veins are inside your finger, there’s no way of anyone else knowing what the pattern looks like and trying to copy it.

Relying heavily on fingerprints has caused public concern in the past. When Apple launched TouchID a few years ago, people were worried about criminals cutting off people’s fingers to gain access to their phone and personal data.

While these proved to be outlandish claims, finger vein recognition users can rest easy knowing that the VeinID sensors only work with living tissue. If your finger has been cut (or severed from your hand!) the veins collapse, meaning your unique pattern is lost. Obviously, this doesn’t prevent a determined criminal from cutting off your finger, but at least, if they do, they won’t be able to access your personal information.

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Simplify and Secure Electronic Health Records with Document Imaging

Guest post by Chris Strammiello, vice president global alliances and strategic marketing, Nuance Communications.

Chris Strammiello
Chris Strammiello

Every healthcare IT professional is already thinking about mobility and security in general, but not all consider their relation to document management. A single piece of paper could contain immeasurable amounts of sensitive data and even protected health information (PHI) that, if somehow found in the wrong hands, could present major HIPAA violations. So, how will document imaging impact healthcare technology?

The Mobile Game-Changer

As healthcare organizations transition their processes from paper to electronic workflows, mobile device use will increase. From patient registration to discharge and beyond, mobile technology simplifies patient communication via e-prescriptions, online scheduling and automated appointment reminders.

Productivity-enhancing capabilities like barcode scanners, e-forms and e-signatures also benefit practitioners by improving on-the-ground access to clinical documents and reducing manual document handling. Plus, mobile devices can curb printing costs through the implementation of pull printing, which holds a print job on a server until the user authenticates its release at the output. Ultimately, for the patient, all of these advantages translate into more time for quality interactions with their doctor; for the hospital, significantly streamlined processes and lower costs.

We also expect to see an increased use for mobile devices in medical instrumentation. Take, for example, the advancements brought to speech therapy with the utilization of a tablet’s microphone during a session. Previously, patient testing would have been done with a much larger and more complex device that would produce less data about the quality, pitch and frequency of the voice. Not only are mobile devices simplifying day-to-day workflow within the healthcare industry, but they will also revolutionize the actual healthcare practice.

Smarter, Simpler and Even Spoken Security

Alas, as with all technological advancements, security remains an essential question mark. Unfortunately, the smartphones, tablets, laptops and even multifunction printers (MFPs) that increase access to patient information are also some of the biggest security vulnerabilities in EHR implementations. In fact, theft or loss of portable and unencrypted devices is the leading source of reported HIPAA data breaches and fines. Even further, as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services now defines office copiers and printers to be actual workstations, IT professionals must secure them in the same way they do computers.

With all this in mind, both physical and technical safeguards must and will be improved in the near future, starting with the embrace of solutions that provide two-factor authentication. Commonly used in financial services, two-factor authentication combines a password with something you know, like the answer to “What is your mother’s maiden name?,” or something you have, like a fingerprint. We can expect such biometrics, including voice commands, being more commonly used as a second authentication factor in the near future. Long gone are the days of scanning your ID card to credential a print release – users will simply speak to the printer to verify who they are.

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