Happy birthday FIDO, and no, we’re not talking about the family dog.
The Fast IDentity Online Alliance, or FIDO for short, was first conceived one year ago this week, and is probably the best shot that we have for increased security in the near future.
Dedicated to bringing new, improved methods of biometric recognition out of the shadows and into our pockets, FIDO is an effort that is being backed by industry titans such as MasterCard, PayPal, and Google. This mandate includes everything from USB dongles to face scanners, thumbprints and vocal recognition software, and even portable retina scanning tools.
Also on the docket for FIDO is true integration with devices like the iPhone 5S, which sport home buttons supposedly accurate enough to track a fingerprint in the FBI database. With this information locked to you and your physical body, we could start to see a world free of financial crime, and possibly even a signal to the end of the era of online identity theft.
Apple has repeatedly told security-wary consumers that all data scanned by the fingerprint sensor is stored on a completely separate part of the logic board, and encrypted by one of the most complex mobile encryption schemes currently available on the mass market. The data is never transmitted back to their servers for any reason, and if the phone detects that data being moved from anywhere off its specified platform, the user is immediately notified and the phone bricks itself as an automatic form of identity protection.
Of course, this scenario then begs the question: what exactly is “safe” anymore, really? When we talk about biometric sensors inside of buttons and 3-5 step authentication processes, all we’re really discussing is one more loophole that hackers (either freelance or G-men) will eventually have to jump through to get to your information.
While we may not see an end to the username/password combination method of personal security we’ve become accustomed to over the past few decades anytime soon, it’s clear that the need for organizations like FIDO are going to become greater as we experience high profile hacks like those seen in the cases of Target and Adobe last year.