A Beginner’s Guide to Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication is a set of security protocols that, instead of relying on PIN numbers and passwords, focus more on the unique physical attributes of individual human beings. These include fingerprints, retinas, voices, facial features, blood vessel patterns, etc.

Simply speaking, you can lock, unlock, access anything you want to be kept secure using any of these options. In this article, we will tell you how these systems work, what the different kinds of biometrics available are, and what you can gain from using them. So, without further ado, let us get started!

The Inner Workings of the System

The system is very simple to understand. Imagine your email. You enter your username and password, and the service compares it to the data it already has. If it’s a match, then you get access. If it’s not, then you’re out of luck. Pretty much the same rule applies to biometric systems, but with added security.

When you install a biometric system, instead of a password, you will have to provide the required data – it will scan your retina or fingerprints, for example. After you feed it the information, the system will ask for the same data the next time you want to unlock your device.

The system will then compare the two data sets and only open up in the event of a near-identical match. There is some wiggle room because it is quite impossible for two sets of biometric data to be perfectly identical. This is put in place so that you can access your data despite subtle changes – a minuscule scar on your fingertip, elevated heartbeat due to sickness, etc. Had the system been infallible, these tiny changes would have locked you out.

Types of Biometric Authentication Available

There are many different kinds of biometric authentication systems for you to choose from. In this section, we will take you through some of the most commonly used ones:

  • Fingerprint scanners are the most commonly used biometric authentication systems available and come in three forms: optical, capacitive, and ultrasound. An optical scanner takes pictures of your prints, identifies the pattern, and turns it into code. A capacitive scanner measures electrical signals from the finger to the scanner. An ultrasound scanner uses an ultrasound image of the finger to determine accuracy. These are widely used in smartphones now, so they are very readily available to be used for all your needs.
  • Hand and finger geometry scanning systems are also used widely. They scan the thickness of your palm, the length of your fingers, and the distance between your knuckles – which should be all unique to you – to protect your data.
  • Eye scans can focus on either the iris or the retina. Both kinds scan a different part of the eye that is unique to you. However, retina scans are far more secure than iris scans. This is because a high-definition photo of a person’s eyes or face can sometimes fool an iris scanner, which is impossible with the retina.
  • Face recognition systems are also widely used. Some smartphones have them installed, too. There are various ways in which a system can detect the correct face: measuring distance between organs, analyzing beauty marks or wrinkles, etc. However, be warned that face recognition systems can be quite easily fooled by makeup or even by obstructing part of the face.
  • Vein geometry authentication is really cool! It scans the patterns of veins intercrossing in your hand through your palm and fingers. There is no chance of anybody recreating this, so this is one of the most secure forms of biometric protection you can hope to get for yourself. A vein geometry scanner scans your hand using infrared light, which allows it to see the criss-crossing of your veins.

Advantages of Biometric Authentication

Some of the advantages of using this technology are:

  1. Hackers who want to steal your information will have to do it at point-blank, which greatly narrows down the possibility.
  2. They are easy to use and cannot be misplaced, unlike a password or a PIN number. You simply can’t forget your eye or your hand.
  3. They are also difficult to steal, if not wholly impossible.

All of these combined will give you unparalleled security and ease of mind.

Closing Remarks

Technology has greatly reduced the stresses of our lives, and biometric authentication aims to ease those stresses even further. Using these will protect valuable data and save you a lot of headaches down the line. Invest in some now!