Help Desk Final
Question 6: Explain what Biometrics is and how it is used for security, and the future growth of this technology.
Biometrics involves the use of a particular physical attribute or characteristic, or the use of several attributes and/or characteristics in combination, in the identification of an individual. Common biometrics used for identification include fingerprints, hand geometry, retina, iris, face, signature, or voice. Behavioral characteristics can also include a person’s gait or keystroke pattern.
Biometrics became a truly hot topic after
the events of September 11th in the
The security factor of using biometrics in authentication and identification is that a biometric is difficult falsify. Some of the technologies, however, provide greater ease of use and are more cost effective than others. Keeping in mind that the technologies are continuing to emerge, one must examine a great deal of complex information offered by a number of vendors in order to determine the best match for his or her company. For instance, retinal scanning can be quite accurate, but it can be inconvenient to use if a person wears glasses or has concern about the close contact required when using the scanning device. An iris-based biometric requires no close contact between the scanner and the individual, and can be used with a person’s glasses in place, but the technology is not yet fully developed, so system integration is still not a strong selling point for this particular option.
The primary use of biometrics today involves
controlling access to secure locations such as, office buildings, hospitals,
casinos, and health clubs without requiring the manpower of a security guard to
physically check identification. Biometrics was used during the 1996 Olympic
Games, and is a staple at
With the new focus on biometrics, many new
prototypes are being developed. One example involves the use of biometrics in
international air travel, through the use of an application called,
“EyeTicket.” This technology links a passenger’s frequent flyer number to an
iris scan so that once enrolled, the passenger may use an unmanned kiosk for
ticketing and check-in (but minus any checked luggage). EyeTicket is currently
being evaluated by international airports in
Future research will produce new uses, and among them will surely be applications in the area of covert surveillance, and in e-commerce applications. It is already being used in point-of sale fraud prevention through finger scanning and signature verification, and at least one major hospital chain is using biometrics to secure their workstations. Biometric technologies can be layered to increase security levels. A password can provide minimal levels of access, but by adding biometrics, security can be taken to another level.
Biometric technology is no longer a movie-maker’s special effect. It is a reality that must not be ignored by the IT industry.
Sources: www.findbiometrics.com/Pages/lead.html - Liu & Silverman