Consumer Advocates Warn That New Technology Could Still Be Hacked

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The idea of accessing an online bank account with a fingertip or unlocking a smartphone with nothing more than a look has left some wondering how safe high-tech security access is.

Sophisticated security devices may seem like something out of a movie, but they have become more and more common, CBS 2’s Maurice DuBois reported Friday.

“All I have to do is put my finger on the pad and they have all my information and off we go,” said blood donor Bill Heron.

Heron was instantly identified at his blood bank with a quick scan of his finger.

“Clearly the future is now and it is coming to life,” said BIO-Key International’s Michael DePasquale.

The technology is part of biometric systems that measure unique attributes like fingerprints, voices, facial features, and eyes.

“Consumers are overwhelmed today by passwords and pins and cards that they have to use to access all the things that are available to us now. They’re no longer secure but, more importantly, they’re becoming very inconvenient,” DePasqualle explained.

Now, offices, schools, gyms, and theme parks are employing the technology.

The devices don’t keep a full scan of your fingerprint. Instead, reference points are kept and layered encryption helps keep personal information private.

“It ensures that no one can intercept or modify this secure information over the Internet or network. It’s virtually impossible for anybody to steal your identity without your biometric finger data,” Suncoast Communities Blood Bank spokesperson Jayne Giroux said.

Privacy advocates have kept a close eye on the technology as it evolved and cautioned that nothing is hacker proof.

“In the near future biometric information could be as useful for identity theft as a Social Security number. It could even be more problematic because if your credit card number is compromised the bank can just issue you a new credit card, but it can’t issue you a new iris,” David Jacobs of the EPIC Consumer Protection Counsel explained.

Soon, computers, phones, and tablets will be equipped with similar scanners that will allow users to open online accounts and access medical records with a simple swipe.

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