We know the word Biometric but the word is “biometric’s,” from the Greek bios (life) and metron (measure), would literally mean “measure life”. In principle, it is the natural way for man to “recognize” his peers by physical and non-transferable characteristics that individualize them: his voice, his features, his movements …
These unique features have historically served to identify people before a third party. For example, in fourteenth-century China, palm print was used to differentiate between young people. And in the field of security, the French policeman Alphonse Bertillon introduced the use of the fingerprint in the 19th century as an identifying element.
With the technological evolution, the use of biometric indicators has an exponential development at present due to the emergence of electronic and digital components linked to software and processors.
These are the biometric indicators on which the most important biometric techniques are based:
-Face thermogram (temperatures).
- Hand geometry.
- Veins of the hands. (venous pattern)
- Patterns of the retina.
As an interesting fact, remember that the biometric’s techniques based on the iris come from research by Dr. Leonard Flom and Aran Safir in 1985, on which John Daugman created the algorithms that remain the basis of all iris recognition products.
Biometric’s authentication in information technologies
Biometric’s authentication or “computer biometric’s” applies mathematical and statistical techniques to the physical or behavioral traits of an individual to verify their identity.
There are three types of authentication to validate a user’s identity:
Authentication based on something “known”: For example, a password.
Authentication based on something “held”: Cards, etc.
Authentication based on something “that is or is done involuntarily”: Computer biometrics falls into the latter category.
To apply this technology, the composition of biometric devices uses three elements:
Biometric’s Reader or scanning device.
Software that digitizes the scanned information and compares match points.
Database where biometric information is stored for comparison. To prevent identity theft, this information is encrypted at the time of collection.
The operation of the biometric verification can be summarized in this sequence: First, to convert the biometric information a software application (in Operating systems) is used that identifies specific points of the data as coincidence points. The matching or pairing points included in the database are processed using an algorithm that translates said information to a numerical value. Subsequently, the value of the database is compared with the biometric data entered by the end user in the scanner, and the authorization is granted or denied.
The benefits of biometric technology
By being directly related to the user, their data is accurate, they allow an audit trail and avoids having to remember a password or an access PIN number. Its reliability is far superior to traditional systems because the biometric characteristics of one person are not transferable to another. That is why more and more infrastructures of companies, institutions, bank transactions and social or health services use this type of verification.
The advantage that a biometric device reduces the cost of administration is not less, since you only have to perform the maintenance of the reader and be in charge of keeping the database updated.
Your future challenges
Despite being the most reliable authentication system, biometrics also faces the challenges of our time: a constant update of its capabilities to maintain its security level as we know it now. “The law cheats,” according to the unfortunate saying, and even the most personal traits could be duplicated, or suffer attempts of falsification by means of contraptions that replicated or reproduced in some way. There is also the remote possibility that some data of our fingerprint are homologated with patterns of another person that could supplant us.
Anticipating these risks, the evolution of biometrics is already moving towards the so-called «behavioral biometrics» which, instead of working on measurable physical traits, will be fixed in biometric characteristics of behavior linked to how we walk, how we write or how we move eyes, to the search for new references that also make us unique and that allow us to maintain the safety guarantees of biometrics at the highest level.