The Use of Biometrics for Authentication

Biometrics seems to be the new “secured” method that is usually utilize with your electronic devices, identification, and access control. So, what is it and it is really the most secured method to use to protect your information? Well we all seen the YouTube videos where a jealous significant other will use the fingerprint unknowing person to unlock their phone or look over their shoulder to memorize the pattern used to access the device. Videos such as those show simpler methods that people use to hack into a device when only one form of biometrics is used.


What is Biometrics?

Biometrics is the measurement and statistical analysis of a person’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics. In the information security world, it is used as a form of identification and access control. There are several ways that biometrics could be used the verify identity and can either be behavioral or physiological.


Behavioral Recognition

Behavioral recognition is just as it sounds as it records, compares, and save patterns. Some behavioral biometrics includes keystrokes, signature, and voice recognition. When utilizing behavioral biometrics, the understanding need to be clear that there is an increased possibility for false positives. This type of biometrics is cheaper to implement, however it should never be used alone as it is too easy to imitate any one of these features.


Physiological Recognition

Physiological recognition includes; face, fingerprint, hand, iris, DNA, and fingerprints. So basically, this type of recognitions uses physical characteristics to verify identity. The more popular physiological recognition used is the fingerprint. Fingerprint recognition tests the image of your finger and determines whether the ridges and valleys in the image matches the pre-scanned images. It is important to know that the image of the fingerprint is never saved and only a unique series of binary code is saved for verification. The algorithm used to create the binary code can never be used converted back into an image so theoretically no one can duplicate your fingerprint with the binary code. However, someone can recreate your fingerprint.


Back in 2017, the Michigan Police utilized the fingerprints from a save image to unlock a dead man’s cell phone by utilizing a 3D printer.  So, in essence, if someone were able to lift fingerprints from an object utilized by someone and had access to a 3D printer they would be able to recreate their fingerprints. It seems that the more popular method used isn’t immune to a clever mind using the tools around them to hack into a device. Turns out that it is very easy to gain access to a 3D printer as they start at $165.00.


Identification and Biometrics

Biometrics alone should never be used as the sole method for identifying a person’s identity. Three methods should be utilized to verify a person’s identity:

  1. Something a person possess, examples would be cac, badge, vehicle or a document.
  2. Something a person know, examples would be things like a password, name, or secret.
  3. Some unique characteristic quality of that person, such as their fingerprint, hand, face,voice, face, etc.

By using at least three of these methods of identification, it would make it harder for someone to create a false identity.

About Lee Signore

Fifteen years ago, Lee Signore joined the military as an Information System Analyst and honorably serving her country for eight years. During her tenure as a soldier she was able to learn and embrace the Army Values (Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage). She went on to earn her Masters degree in Cyber Security from the University of Maryland University College and several security certifications. She also served as an Information Security Office for the Federal Government managing the information security program and preparing Federal facilities for audits.

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