Barely any of us are choosing fingerprints over passwords yet

Hand women holding smartphone and scan fingerprint biometric identity for unlock her mobile phone
Image credit: Shutterstock (Image credit: Shutterstock/ Monster Ztudio)

Many Americans still prefer using passwords over biometrics, out of concerns their intimate data might be stolen by hackers.

A report from NordVPN has found only 21% of US citizens favor using their fingerprints over passwords to protect the apps on their smartphones. 

The firm believes that this illustrates a need for alternative methods of passwordless authentication, with Thomas Smalakys, CTO of NordPass - the password manager sibling to NordVPN - comments, "while biometrics are technically considered the more advanced technology compared to passwords, many people still question it and may have reasons for not using it."

Other solutions

Biometrics, which consists of scan data of unique features, such as your fingerprint or face, can be used to authenticate many apps and payments, as well as unlocking your device itself. While biometrics are very difficult for threat actors to dupe, NordVPN notes that it is not impossible.

It cites an incident in 2014, when the current European Commissioner, Ursula Von Der Leyen, had her fingerprints successfully recreated by a hacker based on photographs alone. 

A year later, hackers breached the Office of Personal Management (OPM) and exposed the biometric data of millions of government employees and contractors. And more recently, NordVPN managed to find thousands of stolen fingerprint data across the dark web, although it is not yet certain whether cybercriminals will be able to make use of them.

According to NordVPN, incidents such as these reveal why 15% of Americans never use biometrics on their devices.

Smalakys believes that passkeys offer a viable alternative to passwords secured with biometrics. Passkeys use no passwords at all and are phishing-resistant, as the underlying cryptographic keys are not known to anyone - not even the user. 

Typically, biometrics are still used to authenticate their use, but NordVPN claims that, "with passkeys, biometrics function serve only as an additional step in confirmation, not a sole and primary solution for online authentication."


Lewis Maddison
Reviews Writer

Lewis Maddison is a Reviews Writer for TechRadar. He previously worked as a Staff Writer for our business section, TechRadar Pro, where he had experience with productivity-enhancing hardware, ranging from keyboards to standing desks. His area of expertise lies in computer peripherals and audio hardware, having spent over a decade exploring the murky depths of both PC building and music production. He also revels in picking up on the finest details and niggles that ultimately make a big difference to the user experience.