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“Hack of the Century” – How Biometrics Can Help Bridge the Last Mile of IT Security

By: Violet Le 8.3.2015

While I was making my connections last week at the San Diego airport, a striking front cover title of the Fortune magazine caught my attention. It read “Hack of the Century” and it referenced SONY’s 2014 data breach.  The article stated, “A cyber-invasion brought Sony pictures to its knees and terrified corporate America.”  This aggressive cyber security attack has seriously impacted Sony’s business operations.

Let’s recall what happened half a year ago.

Monday, Nov. 24, 2014, Sony Pictures’ employees logging onto its network were met with the sound of gunfire, scrolling threats, and the menacing image of a fiery skeleton looming over the heads of the studio’s top two executives.

Before Sony’s IT staff could unplug the wires, the hackers’ malware had leaped from machine to machine across continents, wiping out half of Sony’s global network. The hackers erased almost half of Sony’s corporate files and had stolen sensitive data that included personal information about Sony Pictures’ employees and their families, e-mails between employees, information about executive salaries, copies of unreleased Sony films, and other valuable information.  (For a detailed description of all the damages, check out Fortune site http://fortune.com/sony-hack-part-1/.)

What happened at Sony stands as a landmark event. It struck terror in boardrooms throughout corporate America and the lessons apply to every company.  After all, there are only two kinds of companies: those that have been hacked, and those that will be hacked.

The industry shows that 80% of security breaches take place not through hacking or virus attacks, but through system infiltration facilitated by the use of a known password.  This leaves several questions to be answered: how can we safeguard our critical data from any access point? Are our existing practices and rules of passwords secure and sufficient? If not, what are some other options that we should look into to avoid such aggressive business disruptions in the future?

Biometrics bridge the last gap in IT security.  Biometrics are your own personal password that cannot be forgotten, lost or stolen. Users no longer need to remember their answers to password security questions, nor carry a separate single purpose hardware token, or type the complex combination of temporary passwords.

ImageWare Systems’ GoVerifyID® is a mobile biometric authentication service that is used to verify a user’s identity prior to granting access to secured physical or digital sites and to protect mobile transactions. Users enroll their face and voice biometrics and then use those biometrics much like a password.  GoVerifyID works with ImageWare Systems’ GoMobile Interactive®, a secure application server layer and biometric storage service that delivers fast, accurate identity verification to protect all of your important applications, systems, and data.  These include: corporate systems, bank accounts, financial transactions, and healthcare records.  Further, the future-proof, smart authentication technology will link one’s physical traits, (aka biometrics), with devices and human knowledge.

Clearly, nobody can fight data breaches alone.  It is optimal for organizations to choose security solutions that provide the highest level of security, the best user experience, and are able to support your business processes.