Biometric Attacks Proliferate; Become More Sophisticated

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Biometric Attacks Proliferate; Become More Sophisticated

Switzerland

News / Switzerland 399 Views 0

Biometric attacks are surging globally as threat actors are developing ever more sophisticated ways to circumvent security systems to commit fraud, a new report by iProov, a biometric authentication and identity verification provider, says.

The iProov Biometric Threat Intelligence Report 2023, released in February  2023, draws on data collected by iProov’s global security operations center, iSOC, to identify key attack trends and patterns witnessed throughout 2022.

According to the report, 2022 saw the growth of face swap attacks, which soared by 295% in the second half of the year compared with the first half of the year. These attacks are also growing more sophisticated with threat actors now relying on real-time, 3D face swap methods that can evade both active and passive liveness verification.

Face swap attack rate, Source: iProov Biometric Threat Intelligence Report 2023, iProov, Feb 2023

Face swap attack rate, Source: iProov Biometric Threat Intelligence Report 2023, iProov, Feb 2023

Face swap attacks are an emerging threat to face recognition systems where a criminals combines traits from one face, such as motion, with the appearance of another face to create a new synthetic 3D video output. This output has the characteristics of the genuine individual’s facial traits and can be used during a liveness verification attempt to match with a government-issued identification photograph.

The rise and increased sophistication of face swap attacks suggest that prepacked tools are being made widely available to criminals, allowing even low-skilled threat actors to tap advanced tools to create and launch state-of-the-art synthetic attacks, the report says.

This finding is echoed by a 2022 report by the European Union Agency for Law Enforcement Cooperation (Europol) which states that the surge of so-called “deepfake as a service” has seen underground organizations make deepfake capabilities more accessible for the masses through dedicated apps and websites.

Another key trend observed by iProov last year is the rise of digital injection attacks targeting mobile devices, which increased by 149% in H2 2022 compared with H1 2022.

These attacks typically use emulators to mimic a user device, such as a mobile phone, as well as metadata spoofing to conceal their attack origins. These attacks aim to bypass standard fraud detection methods, making tracking and blocking these attacks more difficult.

Mobile injection attack rate, Source: iProov Biometric Threat Intelligence Report 2023, iProov, Feb 2023

Mobile injection attack rate, Source: iProov Biometric Threat Intelligence Report 2023, iProov, Feb 2023

Mobile platforms are often used for biometric verification because they are perceived as more secure than web due to the superior functionality and security available through native apps.

However, like face swaps and deepfakes, the increasing availability of attack tools and emulators is allowing threat actors to launch advanced injection attacks across different platforms, driving the rise of attacks on mobile web and native platforms, the report says.

Finally, the third and last trend observed by iProov in 2022 is the emergence of automated, large-scale attacks on different systems simultaneously.

The majority of these attacks involved motion-based digitally injected attacks. These attacks sought to circumvent authentication systems that ask people to perform motions such as blinking and smiling with the goal of overwhelming these platforms by simultaneously launching hundreds of verification attempts.

These large-scale, automated attacks occurred every few days, at a rate of 100 to 200 verification attempts in the span of 24 hours and targeted different geographical clusters, the report says.

The rise of biometric attacks comes on the back of increased adoption of these new authentication methods. These methods use biological traits such as fingerprints, voices, retinas, and facial features, to verify a user’s identity and are perceived by organizations as more secure and efficient than traditional verification methods such as one-time passcodes.

In 2021, the mobile biometrics industry was valued US$44.2 billion, according to a new report by Transparency Market Research. Between 2022 and 2031, the market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 20.1% to reach US$267.7 billion.

This rise will be driven by increased acceptance of these verification methods among end users, organizations and corporations; increased demand for more reliable authentication techniques; and demand for different forms of user authentication mechanisms for both online and offline applications, the report says.

Global mobile biometric market, Source: Transparency Market Research, Jan 2023

Global mobile biometric market, Source: Transparency Market Research, Jan 2023

Featured image credit from Freepik

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