May 4, 2011 - IrisGuard Makes Inroads, from Mideast Banks to U.S. Prisons – Bloomberg

In May 5, 1961, moments before blasting off on his historic space voyage, astronaut Alan Shepard couldn‟t help thinking “that every part of this ship was built by the low bidder,” according to press reports from the time. That‟s the anecdote Ben Rothke, a senior security consultant in New York for BT Professional Services, a leading IT security firm in El Segundo, Calif., uses to describe the flimsiness of the system billions of people depend on to access everything from e-mail to bank accounts: a username and password. “This is the Achilles heel of electronic security. [This] authentication mechanism ... was broken 20 years ago,” says Rothke.


Rising fraud -- victims file some 25,000 complaints monthly to the federal government‟s Internet Crime Complaint Center for hundreds of millions of dollars -- is driving demand for beefier measures. Among the fastest growing: biometrics, which uses individuals‟ unique physical characteristics, such as fingerprints and iris scans. The market for the technology is still peanuts -- U.S. sales were less than $1 billion in 2009, the latest year for which data are available -- but biometrics is the fastest-growing major segment in the electronic security business, according to the Freedonia Group, which expects the market to hit $6.6 billion by 2019. By then, half of electronic access controls will be biometric, double what it is now,


according to the Cleveland (Ohio) business research firm.