Biometric Security for Computers
The best types of security have always revolved around at least two
components: something you know, and something you have. Keycards,
digital FOBs, and one-time pads have been commonly used and combined
with pass words, and pass phrases. More recently, with the advent of
biometrics, you don't have to carry around anything other than
The most recent computer authentication technologies have evolved
around biometrics. These biometrics include physical aspects
concerning components of the user -- their biology.
The most commonly used biometric components are:
- Finger Length. The length of our fingers is very unique. Various
systems have been put in place which measure the length of your
fingers and some include the palm of your hand.
- Finger Print. These systems are more complex, as they must be
able to read the lines and swirls on fingers as well as be able to
recognize their unique features.
- Facial Recognition. This technology locates key points on a
user's face, and measure the distances between them. This provides a
mathematically unique formula which can be used to recognize a person.
- Retinal/Iris Scan. This technology uses lasers to read unique
attributes of components of your eyes to recognize a unique identity.
- Voice Print. This technology records your voice and analyzes it
for its unique features.
- Thermal Imaging. Your face is again used for this technology.
Directly under the skin are thousands of small blood vessels which are
read by the imaging unit. Even identical twins have substantially
different thermal facial images.
- Signature Analysis. By reading the direction, speed and force of
each stroke of the pen a computer can develop a unique identification
Many businesses, recognizing that 70% of information theft comes from
within, are starting to implement many of these technologies today.
From computer mice with built-in fingerprint readers to voice
recognition software which allows you to log into your computer and
signature digitizers used by credit card enabled merchants,
computer biometrics are becoming more of a part of our daily lives.
The bottom-line? Any reasonable security system must include a reasonable recognition system for its users, and there is nothing better than combining something you have with something you know. Instead of carrying around a keycard, why not use something you always have with you -- your body!
Like any other technology, Biometric data can be faked, terminal equipment can
be hacked, and these systems compromised. Just don't put too much
faith into these fallable biometric systems.