Monday, October 20, 2008

It is time Kenyan Firms adopted Online Biometrics

Many Kenyan companies are slowly becoming more and more reliant on the Internet to transact business. In the financial sector, specialized systems allow clients of stock brokerage firms to invest and monitor their shares and asset portfolios. These systems also analyze financial data that helps Kenyans make better investment decisions.

The systems are reliant on the Internet and this medium is a source of apprehension due to its insecure nature.

Apart from securing the medium and the data that is transported on it, it is important for computer users to adopt techniques that would contain online financial fraudsters. This containment would instill confidence in our burgeoning e-commerce sector.

One technique that holds promise is biometrics. Biometrics in computer security refers to authentication techniques that rely on measurable physical characteristics that can be automatically checked and verified.

These types of biometric identification schemes include the analysis and use of facial, fingerprint, hand geometry, retina, iris, written signature, vein and voice characteristics. These schemes are digitized and stored in information systems.

Biometric identification is been adopted as a secure identification process in financial transactions over the Internet and is destined to play a more critical role in the Kenyan e-commerce sector.

Biometrics would, for example, include a fingerprint scanner on which you place your fingerprint to determine your identity. Instead of submitting your Identity Card to the teller in your bank, you would instead use the fingerprint scanner to establish your identity.

Your scanned fingerprint would have access levels that could for example include the ability to use credit card information to make electronic purchases. Modern laptops have integrated fingerprint readers that protect data against would be intruders.

Biometrics would be appropriate for small businesses that cannot risk having their financial transactions that are conducted over the Internet compromised.

Another way biometrics is useful is when an online fraudster’s identity can be established from schemes previously stored in databases. The importance of biometrics in future computing is evident.

Online financial fraudsters will attempt to circumvent these biometric identification schemes by for example using digitized sound recorders to gain illegal access to an online bank account.

Identification and apprehension will be much easier with biometric schemes in place because information systems will adopt biometric identification faster and the fraudsters will be forced to submit their identification schemes so as to gain access.

In this way local cyber crime investigators will be able to instill confidence in our local e-commerce sector because they will be using advanced investigatory techniques to apprehend online financial fraudsters.

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