Alipay, the Chinese online payment specialist, recently announced that it believes biometrics will soon make traditional passwords obsolete.
Speaking at the GSMA Mobile World Congress event earlier this month, Jason Lu, vice president for the firm, discussed new biometric technology such as facial and fingerprint recognition systems and how he believes they represent the future of security – specifically for mobile device authentication.
Lu stated that within three years traditional passwords will be "dead", and "no one will have to remember words and numbers" – instead, fingerprint or facial recognition will be the norm.
There are difficulties and challenges associated with both forms of authentication, however. In some countries only governmental departments have the right to collect and store fingerprint information, so this may cause an issue for private businesses looking to utilise such sensitive and personal information. Similarly with facial recognition it may be hard to authenticate a user as they age or their face changes; hackers may also be able to use a photo of an individual to trick the system. Processes will need to be put in place to ensure such issues do not stand in the way of the technology becoming widely adopted.
The company's aim is to create innovative mobile internet-based services for SMEs and ordinary citizens to use, as both of these demographics have been ignored by traditional financial institutions, Lu notes. He claims that "by combining big data and internet, we can attract a lot of ordinary people who do not have a whole lot of money" and propel the financial services market into new areas.