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Biometrics are beginning to move mainstream for online authentication, with at least 25% of consumers now using biometrics in some capacity, according to the FIDO Alliance’s Online Authentication Barometer report. For this research, the FIDO Alliance set out to discover the latest in consumer habits, trends, and the adoption of authentication technologies across the globe. This is the first report in its Online Authentication Barometer series that will periodically review and monitor the state of online authentication in ten countries across the globe. Future releases of the barometer will be able to compare changes in behaviors and attitudes over time.

This could be a factor in why biometrics are the second most commonly used method for login. Here's how many consumers have used biometrics in the past 60 days to access different accounts. 35% have used it for financial services. 26% use it for their work computer or account. 22% use it for social media. 16% use it for multimedia accounts such as Netflix or Spotify. And 19% use it on their smart home devices.

The report found passwords still prevailed over other, more secure authentication methods, with 59% of people using them to log into a work account or computer in the last 60 days. While this is unsurprising, with passwords dominating online authentication for many years, the report did also find indicators that the tide is changing. Most notably, biometrics are gaining traction, both in perception of security and usage — 32% of consumers now believe biometrics are the most secure way to log into their online accounts, apps and devices, compared to passwords at 19%. In addition, biometrics was the second most commonly used method for login, with 28% citing it as their preferred method and 35% having used biometrics to access financial services in the last two months.

Consumers are concerned about their online security, and many have taken action such as moving to biometrics (38%) and using authentication software (21%). However, of those who haven’t taken action, a third say it’s because they don’t know how. Combined with the 43% who report that they have strengthened their passwords, an action that is helpful but shouldn’t be relied upon as the only method to keep accounts safe, the barometer has overwhelmingly concluded there is a greater need for education among consumers on how to protect accounts.


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Read the full report by FIDO Alliance.

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