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Mobile Developers: Biometrics Best Authentication Option

A new mobile development survey shows biometric authentication is seen as the best option to improve app security and privacy.

That finding comes in Evans Data Corp.'s latest for-pay Mobile Development Survey 2016 -- part of a series published twice per year -- for which pricing was not provided.

"Although biometric authentication isn't new technology, it's still considered the best form of authentication by mobile developers," said CEO Janel Garvin in teasing the 235-page report. "Iris scans and facial recognition have more novelty, but fingerprint scans are easier for the user and thus appealing to the developer."

According to another new research report, "Fingerprint recognition is expected to dominate the single-factor authentication mode during the forecast period [through 2022]."

"The fingerprint recognition technology is the most prominent biometrics technology that is being used at present," says the report being hawked by Markets and Markets. "Most of the smartphone manufacturers such as Apple and Samsung use fingerprint recognition technology in their offerings. This strategy is being followed by emerging companies across the world. As fingerprint recognition is the most convenient technology in terms of investment and market acceptance, it is expected to lead the market during the forecast period."

Indeed, in the Evans Data report, the breakdown of responses from developers asked about authentication mechanism shows biometrics is the No. 1 choice among four alternatives, including encryption (hardware- or software-based) and Near Field Communication (NFC):

Authentication Option % of Respondents
Biometrics 36 percent
On-device hardware encryption 25 percent
NFC-based 18 percent
On-device software encryption 14 percent

Survey responses aren't mutually exclusive, Evans Data said, so the results indicate relative levels of confidence for each option.

In another topic teased by Evans Data, developers were polled about where the responsibility for mobile app security lies.

This question was also addressed in another recent survey, Application Security in the Changing Risk Landscape, in which F5 Networks Inc. polled 605 IT and IT security pros to glean insights about their approach to protecting mission-critical applications.

"One of the key takeaways of the report is that lack of visibility into the application layer is now the main barrier to achieving a strong application security posture," said F5 exec Mike Convertino.

That response jives with the new Evans Data report.

"Another noteworthy security finding was that 39 percent felt that the application layer is the most important line of defense in securing a mobile app, followed by 28 percent who think the mobile OS is most important," Evans Data said in a statement. "However, encryption of data stored on the mobile device was the most likely security method to be supported."

Evans Data said the Mobile Development survey has a 4 percent margin of error.

About the Author

David Ramel is editor in chief of Visual Studio Magazine and Application Development Trends Magazine.

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