NordVPN survey shows: Over half of the UK uses biometric authentication daily

NordVPN survey shows: Over half of the UK uses biometric authentication daily

February 25, 2024 privacy 0

If you unlock your phone by holding it up to your face or pressing your thumb to a fingerprint scanner at the bottom of the screen – you’re using biometric authentication. This high-tech recognition method is quick and easy, but do people in the UK trust and use it? Let’s take a look at the results of NordVPN’s survey to find out the answer to these and other questions. The survey and key takeaways For our survey, we interviewed 1,010 people in the UK and 1,008 people in the US from different age groups – Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and baby boomers. Our goal was to find out how people feel about biometric authentication methods (fingerprint, face, and eye scanning) and what their habits are for using them. We were also interested in the usage of other smart technologies, so we asked users from the UK and the US about their QR scanning habits and another topic as well – AI chatbot usage. What is biometric authentication? The first topic of the survey was biometric authentication – using your biometric data to authenticate your identity and gain access to a device or service. Your unique physical features are difficult to replicate, making biometric authentication a great extra layer to add to your passwords and PINs for multi-factor authentication (MFA). Facial recognition and fingerprint scanning are among the most common types of biometric authentication used on smartphones, computers, and apps. Some smart devices also come with voice recognition and iris scanning technology. But is biometric authentication popular in the UK, and who uses it the most? Let’s find out! Only a quarter in favor of biometrics NordVPN researchers found out that only about a quarter of respondents in the UK (27%) and the US (25%) believe that biometrics help keep their data more secure. The percentage of people opposed to the idea of biometric authentication taking over passwords is a little smaller though – in the UK it’s only 19%, while in the US the percentage is a little higher – 21%. Research results: UK vs. USA The distrust in biometrics might be due to the fact that 18% of respondents in the UK and 20% of respondents in the US expressed doubt about companies keeping their biometric data secure. These people worry that criminals could gain access to their biometric data. Percentage of distrust: UK vs. USA UK study results With the trust level in biometric technologies low among UK users, 61% of respondents still say they use at least one biometric technology (fingerprint, face, or eye scan) daily. This just goes to show that biometric authentication has become a daily habit for the majority of users. Still, in the UK, less than a quarter use biometrics in addition to passwords for two-factor authentication. Overall, around 14% say they never use biometrics on their devices because they don’t trust it. This is alarming because it means that people tend to rely solely on passwords or PINs to protect their devices and accounts. The most popular biometric technology – fingerprint scanning In the UK, almost half of all respondents (45%) use fingerprint scanning daily, making it the preferred biometric authentication technology. About a quarter of all respondents prefer fingerprint scans to passwords on mobile apps, and 37% of those who already use fingerprint scanning with a certain frequency prefer them to passwords. Face and eye scanning are less popular. More than a half of all respondents never use eye scanning technologies, and a little under a half never use face scans. Though overall, face scanning is more popular (32% use it daily) than eye scanning (only 10% use it daily). The preference to sign in to social media via face or eye scanning is also low in the UK. On board with QR codes QR code scanning technologies are widely used in the UK – as many as 79% percent of all respondents use them with a certain frequency. If this technology is so common, what else can we say about QR users’ habits? Here is what we found out: More than half use their camera to scan the QR code. More than a quarter have downloaded an app to scan QR codes. 22% scan QR codes on stickers in public places. 23% scan QR codes to access Wi-Fi networks. 28% check the code before scanning it. When only a little over a quarter of QR users check the code before scanning it, no wonder that 4% of them have already experienced a QR code scam compromising their personal data, while 8% have been taken to suspicious websites after scanning a code. For some users, staying safe means avoiding the technology altogether – 21% of UK respondents said they don’t use QR codes at all. Frustration with AI chatbots In the UK, AI chatbot usage is low, with daily AI Chatbots users accounting for only 8%. It seems that people are more comfortable with receiving assistance from other people – one-fifth of respondents say they are frustrated when companies use AI chatbots for their customer support. This frustration is most visible amongst the X generation (45-54 year olds). One third of AI Chatbot users worry that AI is developing too quickly, while 4% say they have experienced an AI scam. All of these reasons, together with the current limitations of AI chatbots, result in their still slow adoption into everyday life. On the bright side, one-fifth of all respondents are trying to educate themselves on AI so that they can better adapt to the technological future. One-tenth of all respondents use AI chatbots regularly in their free time, for example, for generating AI images, while a similar number of respondents use them for work purposes. App usage Many apps offer biometric authentication measures for their users, which makes the app usage topic relevant for our research, especially in terms of personal data security. In the UK, a little over a half of all respondents indicate that they download apps only from official marketplaces (Google Play Store and Apple App Store), keeping themselves safe from malicious apps. Downloading apps from official stores is the main way to avoid malicious and fake apps, but checking user reviews before downloading is still advisable. According to our survey results, one-third of all respondents read user reviews before downloading an app. Half as many say they check how many downloads an app has before downloading it. One-fifth of all respondents also check permissions and data collection on an app before downloading it, and nearly a quarter set their apps to install updates automatically. Unfortunately, the overall percentage of users who practice app security tips (checking user reviews, checking the number of downloads, and reviewing permissions and data collection rules) is still relatively low, suggesting poor cybersecurity awareness. {SHORTCODES.blogRelatedArticles} Who uses biometric technologies the most? Out of all the respondents, Gen Z and Millennials use biometric technologies (fingerprint, face scan, and eye scanning) most often. The group using biometrics the most is predominantly freelancers and people with larger incomes. Gen Z and Millennials, and other groups, such as business owners, freelancers, people with higher income, use QR codes on a daily basis significantly more than other age groups. Gen Z and Millennials also scan QR codes to access Wi-Fi networks more often than others and prefer to use QR codes instead of physical menus at restaurants. They are also more avid users of AI chatbots. They use AI chatbots more in their free time (such as to create images) but also for some work and study tasks. However, compared to other age groups, Gen Z and Millennials worry the most about AI replacing their jobs. But let’s look at the highlights for each age group. Gen Z (18-26 y.o.) Gen Z proactively uses biometrics, but they are cautious and only share their data with reliable companies. They tend to set their apps to update automatically and show the strongest preference for being able to sign in on social media via face scanning. However, Gen Z feels the most worried about AI developing too quickly and they appear to be the ones who’ve experienced QR code scams significantly more than others. Millennials (27-42 y.o.) Out of all the age groups, Millennials show the strongest belief in biometrics keeping their data more secure. They actively use biometric authentication methods, QR codes, and AI chatbots. Gen X (43-58 y.o.) Gen X is not an active group in using biometric technologies, with only a quarter of Gen X respondents believing that using biometrics helps to keep their data more secure. The majority of Gen X never use eye scanning and about one third use QR codes less often than once a month. Frustration with companies using AI chatbots for customer service is the most visible amongst the members of the X generation. Baby boomers (59-77 y.o.) Baby boomers show the highest skepticism towards biometrics and dislike the idea of using biometrics instead of passwords. They don’t trust companies to keep their biometric data secure. However, half of them use fingerprint scanning, 30% – face scanning, and 16% are open to eye scanning technologies. Non-users of QR codes are more likely to be baby boomers, retired, and with lower income. Also, people aged 60 and over do not use AI chatbots at all in their work. How to protect your biometric data Your biometric data is probably the most personal data about you, so it’s important to keep it private, especially if you’re using it for authentication purposes. We’ve got some tips on how you can protect it: Use multi-factor authentication. MFA adds security to your devices and accounts by using several verification methods: something you know (a password or PIN), something you have (a mobile device), and something you are (biometrics). Even if an attacker breaches one layer, they will be stopped by another one, keeping your personal data safe. Use malware-protection tools. Our NordVPN app has an integrated Threat Protection feature that blocks access to malicious websites even if the QR code contains a link to a harmful page. It also detects vulnerable apps on your computer so you can take immediate action to improve your data privacy. Be mindful about QR codes. Don’t scan QR codes in public places or in unsolicited emails. Only scan a QR code in professional and official settings, for example, a QR inside a restaurant which will take you to the online menu. You can also use NordVPN’s Threat Protection or a reliable QR code scanning app that checks URLs before opening them. Buy apps only from official app stores. By purchasing apps that have not been vetted by Apple or Google, you are risking downloading harmful software that might steal your data or infect your device with malware. Keep your software updated. Software updates patch up security vulnerabilities, so update your device’s and apps’ software regularly or simply turn on automatic updates. To get the best results with biometric data, follow these tips to keep it secure and add biometrics as a supplementary authentication measure to better protect your devices and accounts.

The post NordVPN survey shows: Over half of the UK uses biometric authentication daily first appeared on NordVPN.


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