Biometric Security: Human Characteristics is a Part of Mechanism

Biometric SecurityAs connectivity continues to spread across the globe, it is clear that old security methods are simply not strong enough to protect what’s most important. Thankfully, biometric technology is more accessible than ever before, ready to bring enhanced security and greater convenience to whatever needs protecting, from a door, to your car to the PIN on your phone. In this article we have bought top you some developments in Biometric Security.

According to CSO the biometrics market will be worth US$13.8 billion in 2015.

Biometric security is seeing an increasing application area and emerging trend. The technology is on the rise in large part due to the fact that many mobile users have become comfortable using tools such as fingerprint identification for access. Apart from mobile users there are other prominent areas being dominated by biometric security. In this article we shall explore some of them. Biometrics authentication is used for identification and access control. It is also used to identify individuals in groups that are under surveillance. Biometric identifiers are the distinctive, measurable characteristics used to label and describe individuals. Biometric identifiers are often categorized as physiological versus behavioral characteristics. Physiological characteristics are related to the shape of the body. Behavioral characteristics are related to the pattern of behavior of a person, including but not limited to typing rhythm, gait, and voice. Some researchers have coined the term behaviometrics to describe the latter class of biometrics. More traditional means of access control include token-based identification systems, such as a driver’s license or passport, and knowledge-based identification systems, such as a password or personal identification number. Since biometric identifiers are unique to individuals, they are more reliable in verifying identity than token and knowledge-based methods; however, the collection of biometric identifiers raises privacy concerns about the ultimate use of this information.

Juniper Research, says more than 770 million biometric authentication applications will be downloaded each year by 2019. The Juniper study says fingerprint authentication will account for the overwhelming majority of apps, driven by increasing deployment of fingerprint scanners within smart-phones.
Acuity Market Intelligence, forecasts that rising demand for smart-phones, tablets and wearable mobile devices that incorporate biometrics will drive a global market of 2.5 billion users with nearly 4.8 billion biometric devices by 2020.

Advantages v/s Disadvantages

There are numerous advantages and several disadvantages of biometric security for physical facilities and electronic devices. Biometric security uses a person’s own physical markers as the sole means of gaining access through that security. Typical biometric identification markers include fingerprints, voice verification, retina scans and facial recognition software. Though these security measures are quite expensive, the primary benefit is that they are generally impregnable to hackers, criminals or any others the security measures are aimed at keeping at bay. Biometric technologies do come with several drawbacks, though, including the fact that the human body changes over time. Changes that alter the biometric identification markers of those who are allowed access can complicate both long-term security logistics and work flow. The primary advantage to using biometric security systems is the ability of the property owner or security chief to tailor the security system directly to those personnel who most require access. The idea is that by utilizing natural markers that are unique to each individual person, the security system will be able to easily identify those who are allowed access while easily identifying those who are not. Biometric security is best suited to physical spaces that require continuous or long-term protection.

There are some methods for using biometric technologies for the protection of hardware, software and data as well, but these methods can be overcome by persistent and dedicated hackers. Biometric security systems have a distinct advantage over traditional passwords, key codes and access cards because they cannot be hacked, stolen or transferred from an a person who is allowed access to one. Yet beyond this one feature, biometric security systems do have problems and drawbacks. For example, the development of cataracts could severely inhibit the ability of a person to gain access through retinal scan confirmation, causing problems for an entire facility that has dedicated its resources to this form of biometric security. If one member of the staff with security access develops a medical condition that alters his or her biometric markers, the facility in question will have one of two choices. They will either have to invest heavily in supplemental forms of security solely for that one person, or change the entire system to another biometric format or away from biometrics altogether. Biometric security measures offer the capacity to secure a facility or device in a unique and personal way, but caution and forethought must be used when attempting to configure the system. A biometrics system helps us to reduce, false accept rate (FAR), false reject rate (FRR) and failure to enrol rate (FTE). It also increases, sensor cost, enrolment time, transit times, need for a prior knowledge/data & system development and complexity.

  • Biometrics cannot be lost, stolen or forgotten.
  • It is also secure in that the biometric itself cannot be socially engineered, shared or used by others.
  • There is no requirement to remember passwords, or PINs, thus eliminating an overhead cost. The biometric is always available to the individual;
  • Coupled with a smart card, biometrics provides strong security for any credentials on the smart card.
  • Biometric system provides a high degree of confidence in user identity.
  • Organizations can implement recognition systems to obviate the need to log onto a system manually.
  • Lack of standardization
  • While the reliability and the accuracy of biometric devices continues to improve.
  • Biometric systems must be able to accommodate changes to the biometric over time which may be caused by ageing, illness or injury.
  • The effectiveness of the sample collection process is strongly influenced by environmental conditions, user training and usability. For example, lighting, facial orientations, expression, image resolution and the wearing of hats can affect the quality of the sample.

MasterCard on Biometric Security

MasterCard to introduce biometrics, tokenization in European cards this year

MasterCard-on-Biometric-SecurityMastercard announced at the Risk to Reward 2015 conference in London that it will be launching biometrics and tokenization for a number of cards in Europe. Mr. Ajay Bhalla, Master-card’s president of enterprise security solutions said, that the credit card firm has been working with Apple Pay to develop a tokenization system for purchases. As such, whenever an individual purchases an item using the card, a token or randomly generated number is used in place of the credit card number. “We believe that by taking all these steps we will make the system more secure,” said Bhalla. “If a card is compromised it is the token which is compromised not the number on the card.” Bhalla said the key to lowering the overall risk is to understand how significant the issue is and ensure that the right personnel are tasked with managing cyber security. “It is important to make employees aware of cyber security risks to combat the human factor,” said Bhalla, adding that he believes that electronic payments are safe. There are currently two billion customers around the world who use MasterCard’s products. Previously reported, MasterCard’s EVP and group head of global products & solutions, discussed how the credit card firm’s $20 million cyber security plan will further existing technologies as well as MasterCard’s plans to bring biometrics to the mainstream.

Can Mobile Biometric Replace Pins & Passwords

Mobile BiometricWe use passwords constantly, to login to dozens of systems and services every single day. And as the number of systems and services we subscribe to grows, the more we have to remember. And as the number of online services increases, so too does the complexity; with users now often prompted for alphanumeric combinations, while also being mandated to change passwords on a regular basis. While this process is frustrating, authenticating consumers quickly and securely is critical to all industries – none more so than financial institutions. The challenge is to guarantee effective security, without harming the user experience. Consumers demand a balance between security and simplicity. This is where the use of biometrics comes into the picture by providing faster, easier and more robust authentication in a seamless way.

Biometrics is the process of authenticating users by measuring their physiological or behavioral traits such as fingerprint, face, iris, voice, palm or signature. The potential of biometrics technology for different applications such as access control or person identification was recognized a long time ago. Scientific research into the practice started first with voice, fingerprint and hand geometry recognition systems followed by face and iris recognition. One of the biggest historical challenges of deploying biometric security technology has been the cost. A combination of complex sensors, devices or cameras is needed in order to deploy this technology; hardware that has previously been priced prohibitively. However with the advances in computing over the past decade, such technology has become table stakes; indeed, today every smart-phone is already equipped with sensors which facilitate biometric authentication. These can include fingerprint authentication, voice recognition via microphones, or face / iris recognition via cameras. After Apple started selling the iPhone 5S with a fingerprint sensor, consumers began to be more comfortable with biometric authentication. Fingerprints have now become a mainstream alternative to PINs or passwords in daily life. Meanwhile opening up Touch ID authentication technology to third-party developers has allowed mobile providers all over the world to leverage the feature for their own user security. As expected, the most obvious use case has been in mobile payment applications.

A number of international banks and financial services companies have integrated Touch ID functionality into their mobile banking apps. While iPhone users sign into their accounts using their device’s fingerprint sensor as an alternative to entering a customer ID and password. Security researchers have demonstrated how to replicate fingerprints using glue -like substance to “fool” the Touch ID fingerprint sensor into a false positive identification. While hacking individual users is not out of the question for those with the skills, patience and a suitable copy of their target’s fingerprint. Despite these flaws, the reality is that consumers love Touch ID. Fingerprint authentication adoption is on the rise, as its availability on phones and tablets continues to grow; Apple is no longer the only player in the game, just as many Samsung devices now offer touch reader devices, which companies like PayPal are leveraging. Meanwhile, banks concerned about Touch ID’s security and its compliance with regulation are combining Touch ID with an additional security layer.

Experts views on biometric security

ABI Research says overall revenues for the biometrics market are expected to hit $13.8 billion in 2015. The majority of revenues in most biometric recognition technologies are still coming from governmental entities, ABI notes. But due to increased consumer acceptance of biometric tools, consumer and enterprise segments are predicted to catch up with governmental spending in late 2017, becoming the dominant portion of the market.

Security experts see both positives and negatives with biometrics technology.

Jason Taule, CSO at FEI Systems, a provider of health-related technology products. “The most obvious benefit is that it ‘proves’ a person’s identity with greater level of assurance.” “The presumption of course is that the biometric is used in combination with something the person knows. This is very important in situations where the access is to higher-level systems [or] resources.”

Maxine Most, a principal at Acuity Market Intelligence, “you know that the individual accessing secure areas or information is not just an individual holding the proper credential, but is in fact the person who has been granted access,” “This improves security and provides an audit trail.”


The trend for biometric security is gradually increasing its impact over pins & passwords for its numerous advantages, but it has to be backed-up with passwords for instance to cater hacking and other unidentified threats. But as predicted so far in future we may see biometric as a complete replacement of existing password methods & means.

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