A recent study has found that consumers are aware of, and are favorably disposed to, authentication methods that don’t include traditional passwords. Sponsored by Visa and conducted by AYTM Market Research, the survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers revealed that biometric authentication methods top the list of preferred password alternatives.

Smartphones Give Way to Smarter Authentication

The shift to smaller devices such as smartphones likely has a lot to do with this. Authentication methods such as fingerprint, facial and voice recognition are easier to use on the smaller screen space of a mobile device, while the devices themselves now have enough computing power to enable the use of such technology.

Mark Nelsen, senior vice president of risk and authentication products at Visa, told Help Net Security, “Advances in mobile device features are increasing the accuracy and speed of biometrics, such that they can be used for financial transactions. At the same time, consumers are widely familiar and comfortable with using biometrics for more than just unlocking their phones.”

Biometrics can help solve a common problem among users: password reuse. According to the study, consumers’ poor password behavior fits what has generally been known. For instance, less than a third of respondents have a unique password for each of their accounts, which represents a security risk.

The Consumer Demand for Biometric Authentication

The Visa study found that 86 percent of consumers are interested in using biometrics to verify their identity or to make payments. More than 65 percent reported that they are already familiar with employing biometrics.

Respondents had a generally positive view of the technology: 70 percent believe biometrics are easier to use than a password or PIN, and 61 percent believe biometric authentication is faster. Consumers also felt that use of biometric technology was a positive addition to security, with 46 percent of the belief that they are more secure using biometrics than using a password or a PIN.

Fingerprints were the most-used biometric recognition technique by consumers. Thirty percent said they had used it once or twice in the past, while another 35 percent said they use it regularly. In contrast, 32 percent of respondents have used voice recognition in the past, but only 9 percent said they routinely use it to authenticate.

Consumers are loud and clear: They want alternatives to traditional passwords. It’s now up to security professionals to provide them in a manner that is both secure and intuitive.

More from

Data Privacy: How the Growing Field of Regulations Impacts Businesses

The proposed rules over artificial intelligence (AI) in the European Union (EU) are a harbinger of things to come. Data privacy laws are becoming more complex and growing in number and relevance. So, businesses that seek to become — and stay — compliant must find a solution that can do more than just respond to current challenges. Take a look at upcoming trends when it comes to data privacy regulations and how to follow them. Today's AI Solutions On April…

Why Zero Trust Works When Everything Else Doesn’t

The zero trust security model is proving to be one of the most effective cybersecurity approaches ever conceived. Zero trust — also called zero trust architecture (ZTA), zero trust network architecture (ZTNA) and perimeter-less security — takes a "default deny" security posture. All people and devices must prove explicit permission to use each network resource each time they use that resource. Using microsegmentation and least privileged access principles, zero trust not only prevents breaches but also stymies lateral movement should a breach…

5 Golden Rules of Threat Hunting

When a breach is uncovered, the operational cadence includes threat detection, quarantine and termination. While all stages can occur within the first hour of discovery, in some cases, that's already too late.Security operations center (SOC) teams monitor and hunt new threats continuously. To ward off the most advanced threats, security teams proactively hunt for ones that evade the dashboards of their security solutions.However, advanced threat actors have learned to blend in with their target's environment, remaining unnoticed for prolonged periods. Based…

Third-Party App Stores Could Be a Red Flag for iOS Security

Even Apple can’t escape change forever. The famously restrictive company will allow third-party app stores for iOS devices, along with allowing users to “sideload” software directly. Spurring the move is the European Union’s (EU) Digital Markets Act (DMA), which looks to ensure open markets by reducing the ability of digital “gatekeepers” to restrict content on devices. While this is good news for app creators and end-users, there is a potential red flag: security. Here’s what the compliance-driven change means for…