Chapter 1: Exploring Biometric Technology
Companies today are designing devices and computer systems to provide password-free authentication by using biometrics, which are the behavioral or physiological characteristics that are unique to an individual. Devices now include fingerprint technology, facial and voice recognition, and other methods such as haptics to provide authorized access to a device. Today, many organizations are adopting the use of biometrics to enable their employees to enter buildings, access cloud resources, and log in to phones and computers. As a result, IT managers may have to face the prospect of deploying a large-scale biometric system.
But just what is meant by biometrics, and why is the global market share of biometrics expected to double in the next five years? This chapter will answer these and other questions. It will cover the basics of biometric technology and terminology and compare various methods. We’ll see how, in addition to providing...
Describing biometric technology
Today, when you use your mobile device, you may need to use your fingerprint or face to gain access to the device. More and more companies are adopting biometric technology to provide password-free authentication for mobile devices, Internet of Things (IoT) devices, and computer systems. In addition, the use of biometrics in financial technology (fintech) has accelerated as a method for securing financial transactions.
For many of us, using biometrics has become commonplace, as biometric authentication is being used to sign in to websites along with applications on your mobile device. Today, many other biometric techniques are being explored and developed to automatically recognize and authenticate an individual.
Because of the widespread use of biometrics, in this section, we’ll take a look at the definition of biometrics and compare how using biometrics can provide identification and authentication. Let’s begin by exploring what...
Appreciating modern biometrics
When we discuss biometrics, and specifically using automated systems, you might ask, where did the concept originate? In this section, we’ll travel through the evolution of biometrics, from the early use of body measurements to the FBI’s identification division’s use of fingerprints in 1924, to today’s sophisticated systems. Let’s have a look at some of the early uses of biometrics to identify an individual.
Traveling back in time
Historically, the use of biometrics can date back over several centuries, where the use of a fingerprint was used to validate a business transaction. Next, let’s start by learning how the early manual methods paved the way to automation.
Using manual methods
In the late 1880s, there were several individuals, including Henry Faulds and Sir Francis Galton, who outlined the use of quantifiable identification methods such as face and fingerprints to identify individuals. However...
Comparing biometric categories
Biometrics can verify an individual’s identity by using a unique attribute or behavior. Although we may think of biometrics as one general topic, the science of biometrics is divided into two separate categories:
- Physiological biometrics: Represents attributes that can be measured
- Behavioral biometrics: Represents the way we do things
Although both categories provide a way to evaluate a unique attribute, each category is significantly different in the way they are assessed, as shown in the following diagram:
In this section, we will compare physiological and behavioral biometrics, so that you can get a better understanding of each type. We’ll also cover some of the common biometrics in each category. First, let’s outline physiological biometrics.
Measuring physiological attributes
By now, you have a better understanding of the basics of biometric technology. In addition to providing authentication, we learned that we can also use biometrics to identify an individual. You can now appreciate the rich history of biometrics, from early manual methods to today’s advanced systems. In this chapter, we explored how biometrics can provide a straightforward simple authentication process. You then learned how biometric technologies are ideal in many different applications and environments.
You now understand that biometrics can be assessed in one of two ways. We can use physiological biometrics or attributes that can be measured, such as a face and fingerprints. We can also evaluate behavioral biometrics, which are the way we do things such as signature or gait recognition. Because each individual has both behavioral and physiological characteristics, we may find that using both can complement one another and provide a more robust method to secure a...
Now it’s time to check your knowledge. Select the best response, and then check your answers, found in the Assessment section at the end of the book.
- Which of the following would fall under Something you know authentication?
a. Smart card
b. Password or PIN
- Which of the following would fall under Something you have authentication?
a. Smart card
b. Password or PIN
- _____ uses a one-to-one comparison.
a. Smart face
c. Deep face
- _____ represents biometric attributes that can be measured.
a. Smart face
- Using voice recognition is an example of a _____biometric.
a. Smart face
- The FBI’s identification division began using fingerprints in _____.
- Keystroke biometrics are a _____ biometric that gathers the way each individual hits the keyboard...
Please refer to the following links for more information:
- For a detailed look back at the end of the Bertillon system and the beginning of fingerprint identification, check out A Fingerprint Fable: The Will and William West Case found at http://www.scafo.org/library/110105.html.
- This site outlines the technology that converts a biometric such as a fingerprint into encrypted data: https://phys.org/news/2015-10-technology-biometric-cryptographic-key.html.
- This is a nice website with an overview of terms – Glossary of Biometric Terms and Technique Classifications: https://www.biometricupdate.com/201205/biometric-terms-and-technique-classifications.