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8 Alternatives to Selfie Authentication

How to definitively prove your identity? A variety of anatomical parts and functions may soon be able to vouch for you.

With MasterCard deciding to test the selfie as an authentication method for payments earlier this year, we cheered that the self-authentication conversation had moved beyond fingerprints and retinas. It's a welcome changeup that taps into facial recognition and also requires users to blink into a live camera to ensure it's not a photo of a selfie.

It also got us thinking about other common, readily access physiological features that would determine beyond a doubt, that's you.

So many candidates have come and gone in the last several years. Gait recognition, which collects data on how we walk, emerged post-9/11 for potential use in airports. Voice recognition remains in play, but has challenges with ambient noise, making it difficult to use in a shopping center, on the street or in an airport.

But the more we dug into this, the more we came to agree with noted security expert (and pop singer) John Mayer, that indeed, your body is a wonderland. Researchers and startups are using all kinds of body parts to uniquely and definitively identify us. We've highlighted some candidates here as well as a few that are, well, lighter in spirit.

In the meantime, once you're done closing your left eye and sticking out your tongue to pay down your credit card balance, check out our suggestions for futuristic authentication alternatives and let us know in the comments what we missed.

About the Author(s)

Terry Sweeney, Contributing Editor

Terry Sweeney is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered technology, networking, and security for more than 20 years. He was part of the team that started Dark Reading and has been a contributor to The Washington Post, Crain's New York Business, Red Herring, Network World, InformationWeek and Mobile Sports Report.

In addition to information security, Sweeney has written extensively about cloud computing, wireless technologies, storage networking, and analytics. After watching successive waves of technological advancement, he still prefers to chronicle the actual application of these breakthroughs by businesses and public sector organizations.


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