Aware is encouraging governments to use biometric technology to make electronic tax filing systems more secure. The company noted that more people are filing their taxes online due to COVID-19, but warned that the increased number of digital filings creates more opportunities for cybercriminals looking to get their hands on personal information.
According to Aware, tax systems are particularly appealing to cybercriminals because a tax report will include all of the information that a fraudster will need to commit identity theft, including the victim’s name, address, date of birth, and social security number (SSN). Many of those systems are also not terribly secure, and rely only on passwords for authentication. Those passwords (and the data they protect) can be guessed or stolen in data breaches, or else compromised through the use of malware, or through phishing and social engineering attacks.
Should they get their hands on one, a fraudster can use a SSN to open a bank account, take out a loan, or sign up for a credit card, all of which can have dire long-term consequences for the true holder of that identity. However, biometric technologies can help eliminate many of those vulnerabilities, since fraudsters cannot steal a face or a fingerprint in the same way that they can steal and exploit a password.
Aware went on to argue that biometric technologies are extremely easy to use, since most smartphones and computers now come with built-in cameras and sensors that support biometric authentication. Several states have already added biometric authentication to their tax filing processes, though the technology has not yet caught on at the federal level in the US.
Aware has similarly argued that biometrics should be used to maintain the integrity of vaccine passports. The company’s technology was recently integrated into Intercedes’s MyID Credential Management System, which is used by several government agencies.
April 27, 2021 – by Eric Weiss