Mobile & Wireless

Cybersecurity, take notes from Apple

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Apple’s recent release of three new phones – the iPhone Xs, Xs Max and Xr – boast the company’s ability to integrate a number of state-of-the-art features into its devices. Liquid and Super Retina screens star alongside the exponentially faster A12 bionic processor, but above the larger user interfaces and sleeker designs, Apple has heralded developments in the security realm.

Most significantly, it got rid of the iconic home button.

Removing the home button has paved the way for biometric authentication to take precedence in the security measures incorporated into Apple’s design. Facial recognition is now the primary method of unlocking a phone – technology that hasn’t even made a splash in cybersecurity as a solution for many large corporations around the world.

This is perhaps where such enterprises ought to learn from Apple.

It is surprising that biometrics is found to be one of the least favourite security solutions for companies, according to a report produced by Palo Alto Networks’ State of Cybersecurity in Asia Pacific. This goes for two-factor authentication and anti-ransomware software as well.

The primary reason for all this, however, is somewhat juvenile, with companies complaining that they struggle to keep up with the ever-changing nature of digital protection and available solutions. Especially when the budget for cybersecurity is up and on the rise, it is unacceptable that gross negligence is the underlying factor for more cyber attacks.

And when the sophistication of digital hacks is improving and access to information widens on a daily basis, it is clear that passwords are no longer sufficient barriers for proof of identity when it comes to preventing a cyber attack.

As Apple have made clear, traditional usernames and passwords ought to be binned, and identity proofing through biometrics as a form of authentication is the way forward.

The claim is simple: it is better validated with what you are, than with what you know. Passwords, which fall into the category of what you know, can be easily hacked due to the lack of sophistication and the predictability of patterns. In contrast, it is far more difficult to manipulate and hack biometrics, which are generally considered a greater security barrier to information than simply relying on memory.

While a combination of the two will form a significantly higher level of security, it is important to consider some of the complications that result from the ordeal of implementing biometric identity proofing.

The financial element is first and foremost, as it is easy to understand why biometric equipment is costlier than a username and password set up. In this case, organisations can adopt certain technologies under specific circumstances to regulate the costs of integrating machinery across the board, but must also pay attention to legal regulations when it comes to storing personal identifiable information.

Risks, as unexplored as they may be due to the relatively new nature of using biometric scanners, come in the form of spoofing and using pictures to replicate actual faces. Such matters and threats must be considered before implementation, and it is worth looking into alongside other security protocols.

Apple’s integration of biometric scanning devices demonstrates advancement in both personal and business cybersecurity matters. Although prevention and protection of sensitive data is the ultimate priority, it is quite clear that Apple has yet again revolutionised day-to-day access to technology, and is setting the scene for organisations in due course.

About Lee Hazell

Lee Hazell is a cyber security consultant with a keen interest in anything tech or security related. Follow Lee on .

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