DEVELOPMENT,TECHNOLOGY

Biometric Authentication with React Native in Android and iOS

05 Jun 2021

The IT experts are reckoning biometric authentication to be the future of business, especially in industries like digital banking for identity verification. This is totally unlike legacy authentication techniques. 

So what is biometric identification? It is a security process for verifying a particular user’s identity through unique biological traits like retina, fingerprint, facial patterns, voice etc. This technique has tremendous potential to double ensure enterprise security. This ground-breaking innovation provides enterprises instant behavioral biometrics profiles and detailed insight into all activities.

Why is biometric identification important for people and industries?

In today’s world, biometric authentication is a regular thing that people come across. There are various settings in which this technology is deployed. These days, most of the companies have integrated various biometric identification systems to authorize employee entry into their premises- this way the office management can ensure there is no unauthorized access to their assets and infrastructure. 

By 2022, 96.8% biometric verification device users are evaluated to download biometric applications. As an individual, most of you must be doing biometric authentication on a frequent basis because your Android/iOS phones demand for it. If you want your phone to be secure through biometric verification, you can imagine how important it can be for industries handling sensitive data!

Industries that handle highly sensitive information like Research & Development, pharmaceutical laboratories, banking & insurance, and others have the highest demand for such biometric authentication software and systems. Many countries have multi-level biometric verifications implemented for military and defence personnels and is one innovative technology you can count on to protect the entire nation’s security.

Since its instigation, biometric authentication has evolved the way it operates. There has been new technologies and software developed for making biometric authentication as unique and superlative as possible.

Sectors, especially the mobile banking sector, are actively looking for biometric applications to dodge the increasing identity thefts and other illegal crawl-ins to their network.

React Native is one such technology that has been a game-changer in the field of biometric authentication. Here is how biometric authentication with React Native in Android and iOS helped industries and individuals in ensuring security.

Biometric Authentication with React Native

React Native in android and iOS enable different multi-factor authentication (MFA) for security. 

Why is React Native is preferred by developers for biometric authentication? Firstly, this native application development framework allows the re-usage of 95% of the code. It requires the installation of only a single line of  Touch ID. Earlier, Face ID and face recognition had different libraries for different OS. Lately, iOS and Android have common libraries. This way the developers can narrow down their discussions to platform-centric interfaces. 

React Native is resourceful in terms of providing an extensive range of libraries and components for backing React Native mobile application developments. Additionally, the integrating ability of React Native apps with other APIs for carrying out tasks like signing in with Facebook , accessibility to phone gyroscope, access to phone contacts and much more makes it everyone’s first choice.

How to implement biometric authentication?

For iOS:

Implement biometric authentication through access control on stored content of Keychain Services. The process is executed at the hardware and OS level. Hence the exposure to illicit application layers. Also, deploying Mobile Device Management (MDM) technology allows to mitigate probable threats and security risks in iOS.

  1. Use react-native-keychain package and it’s type declaration as your project dependency.
  2. Link the libraries either through automatic linking and native linking.
  3. Temporarily remove Podfile under the iOS folder and run react-native-link and run linking command.
  4. Undo Podfile deletion and add the key value pair.
  5. Rebuild your project.
  6. Check if the user’s iOS supports the capability before user authentication with Touch/Face ID.
  7. After confirming device capabilities, save content in the keychain and set access control flags. This content in the keychain might be the user credentials and is encrypted.
  8. Initiate Touch/Face ID authentication prompt by trying to access earlier stored keychain value.
  9. Once the authentication becomes successful, a user name, password and service will be generated.

For Android and other OS:

For Android and other Operating Systems like Windows, Fire Cloud Messaging (FCM) is the common platform that provides a secure key for peer-to-peer communication. In Android, authentication key generation is done through FCM. Here is the step-by-step detailing of how it is done:

  1. Install/ update the latest Android studio version.
  2. Set project requirements like version. requirements, Gradle files etc.
  3. Set up an emulator to run the app with Google. Play services installed.
  4. Using Google account, sign in to Firebase.
  5. Create a Firebase project
    1. Register app with Firebase.
    2. Goto Firebase console.
    3. Setup workflow by clicking on the Android icon/Add app.
    4. In the Android package name field, add the app’s package name alongside other information.
    5. Click Register app.
  6. Add Firebase configuration file
    1. Add Firebase configuration file to your app by obtaining Firebase Android configuration file and moving configuration file to the app level directory of your app.
    2. Firebase products in your app can be enabled using Gradle files. In the project level Gradle file, add rules for including Google Service Gradle plugin. In the app level Gradle file, apply Google Service Gradle plugin.
  7. Including Firebase SDKs to apps
    1. The dependency for the Firebase Cloud Messaging Android library in app level Gradle file needs to be declared.
    2. Ensure that all declared dependencies have necessary versions by syncing the apps.
  8. App manifest edits:
    1. Extend Firebase messaging service to receive notifications in foreground apps, for data payload reception and upstream message delivery.
    2. Use metadata elements to set notification icons and colour. Default  channels can be created and set with basic settings, if there is a need for creating their own default channel. However these two are optional.
  9. Device registration token 
    1. A registration token for the app is required for the initial setting-up phase of your app. Accessing the device registration token is required for single device or device clusters.
  10. Retrieve present registration token 
  11. Detect token generation 
  12. Look for Google play services: Prior to accessing Google Play services features, check reconcilable Google Play services APK.
  13. Block auto initialisation: To prevent token auto-generation, Analytics collection and FCM auto-initialisation must be disabled 

Conclusion:

To reduce the fear of false identity and intrusion of hackers, enabling biometric authentication is a highly favouring factor. Webdura has projects like Curl IQ that makes excellent deployment of biometric authentication in apps. In case you need a group of techies experienced in biometric authentication projects, you have the communication details right in this page. Feel free to contact team Webdura to avail our outstanding IT/ITeS services.

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Thanks For Reading!

Webdura Technologies

Webdura Technologies

Webdura technologies is a full spectrum technology company in India with over 10 years of experience in developing technological solutions using ​JavaScript (ES6+), React JS, React Native, Redux, Rematch, Vue JS, Graph QL, Apollo, Meteor JS, Node JS, Gatsby JS, PHP, Wordpress, MySQL, Mongo DB and other latest tools. Webdura technologies have joined hands with many international and national giants to put forth cutting edge applications in this past decade.

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