02/06/2017 02:24 EST | Updated 02/06/2017 02:24 EST

Will 2017 Be The Year Your Fingerprints Get Hacked?

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With a new year well underway, we are all becoming more comfortable dating our paperwork "2017." Last year was a wild one and to many people's dismay it brought about some changes that will continue to impact us as we move into the year.

A group of my FICO colleagues from around the world have made their 2017 predictions for analytics, fraud and cybersecurity, and it looks like we'll have another wild year ahead of us -- not just on the political front. Here's what I see as the main three of those predictions that will have the biggest impact on Canadians.

1. Cybersecurity risks -- and accountability -- will rise

Among all the trends expected to have an impact in 2017, cyber security will be on the top of Canadians' minds. Generally speaking, as our world becomes increasingly connected, 2017 will likely become the year that organizations and consumers alike really start taking their online security seriously.

A recent study by global consulting firm Accenture stated that "most Canadian companies do not have effective technology in place to monitor for cyberattacks and are focused on risks and outcomes that have not kept pace with the threat." This year, that will change out of necessity and industry demands.

Doug Clare, vice president of cybersecurity solutions at FICO, believes this will be the year organizations will start holding their potential partners accountable for their cyber-risk vulnerability and demanding proof that they can be trusted with important data. Further, Clare anticipates that consumers will become vigilant and pull away from companies that have experienced data breaches and are not actively improving their security. To instil buyer confidence throughout the year, businesses will need to start investing more into the protection of their and their customers' data.

This year will also bring about changes for individual consumers as they start taking steps to improve their own security and it is about time. For too long people have felt that a single password was sufficient protection for many of, if not all of, their user accounts. This is a scary thought, when you think of the possibility of this password being compromised. If users are relying on a single password to protect all of their accounts, a cracked social media account or email password could allow hackers access to your bank accounts, credit cards, personal records - and even now, your home's security system.

What's more, Clare cautions that "biometric security data may become the biggest security vulnerability of them all." As security shifts towards biometric tools (scanning users' fingerprints, faces or eyes as means for authentication, for example), the way we protect our data becomes even more important. You can always change your password, but how does one change their fingerprints? Issues like this could make recovering from a data breach even more complicated in the future.

2. We'll need to watch out for the Things in the IoT

Your fingerprints aren't the only things that will be more vulnerable this year. With security as a top priority this year, people will begin to look at emerging technologies through a more skeptical lens.

"In 2017 our personal lives, as well as infrastructure, will be brought down by the devices we design to make things easier," said Scott Zoldi, chief analytics officer at FICO. While it is unreasonable to expect a robot rebellion, it is very likely that we will witness events throughout the year that will make us question the safety of emerging technologies, from self-driving cars to smart refrigerators, and push us to demand increased security features.

Zoldi also supports the prediction that 2017 will be the year that organizations are going to be held accountable for the systems they have in place to protect important data, and this will be made possible through analytics. The introduction of products and solutions like the FICO Enterprise Security Score will provide organizations an easy, consistent measurement tool to share with their customers and partners. This is likely to become the standard, much like the credit score.

3. Cloud-based analytics will help fight terrorists

Analytics will continue to play an increasing role in regulatory compliance, as predicted by Frank Holzenthal, managing director of FICO TONBELLER, which provides solutions for fighting financial crime. While terrorist attacks often seem far from home, the responsibility of locating, tracking and stopping laundered funds that support terrorism is shared by our Canadian banks.

"One of the most effective ways to stop terrorists is still to stop their money," said Holzenthal. There are a number of anti-money laundering (AML) solutions that analyze transactional patterns and flag suspicious activities. These sorts of solutions, which analyze transactional patterns and flag suspicious activities, will also continue to support banks and law enforcement as they work to combat human trafficking and other means of illicit money entering the legal financial system throughout 2017.

Increasingly, banks will be accessing these solutions via the Cloud -- something that has previously made them wary. Cloud security has drastically improved and migration into the Cloud allows compliance operations to focus on their core functions, as opposed to worrying about computing resources. In Canada, this migration has happened much faster than originally anticipated. Some of our country's biggest banks have made the move to Cloud computing solutions for compliance, and we expect to see this trend climb throughout the rest of the year.

Big changes in technology are to be expected in 2017, but the biggest development we will experience will be in awareness as consumers and organizations realize the need to protect their data and assets in an increasingly connected world.

To see the full 17 Financial Crime Predictions for 2017 white paper click here.