The Biometric Breakthrough- Enhancing Security Through Biometric Authentication

With the current wave of digital transformation is disrupting every aspect of our lives, making safeguarding confidential information a herculean task. Keys and passwords are no longer enough as data security measures as they can be easily shared or cracked.

Biometrics involves the capture, measurement, and statistical analysis of an individual’s unique physical and behavioral characteristics. The technology is mainly used for identification, authentication, and access control in banking, mobile access, law enforcement, public transport, schools, home assistant technology, and for access into buildings. According to the current analysis, biometric technology has made the COVID-19 period easier to cope for more than 45 percent of consumers.

How does Biometrics Work?

A biometric system has two phases- enrollment and recognition. Enrolment occurs when a person's biometric data is fed into a database. Recognition happens when newly acquired biometric data, also called a probe, is compared with the enrolled biometric data to generate a match score. Biometric verification and authentication are becoming increasingly common in consumer electronics, and public & corporate security systems.

Components of biometric devices include the following:

  • a reader or scanning device to track and capture the biometric factor
  • a software that translates scanned biometric data into digital representation and compares it to previously stored data.
  • a database for the storage and retrieval of biometric data for comparison.

Types of Biometrics

Biometric security software is used to recognize people on the basis of their biological and behavioral traits. Fingerprint recognition is the most commonly used biometric technology because of its simplicity and affordability. Iris recognition is widely used in high-security environments as it provides greater accuracy. As the vascular network patterns within an individual’s palm are broader, complicated, and very unique to a particular individual. Also, palm recognition is another biometric security software that is currently in use. Many biometric security systems use multiple detection technologies for identity verification purposes.

The other types of biometric identifiers are

  • Facial recognition
  • Finger geometry
  • Vein recognition
  • Retina scanning
  • Voice recognition
  • DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) matching
What Benefits Do Biometric Security Systems Offer?
  • Biometric systems enhance security: Biometrics can be used in multifactor verification in situations where there is a pressing need for increased security measures. After presenting physical identification such as a badge at a high-security facility, a person’s fingerprint can be taken as an additional verification. This is safer than using a badge, a PIN, or an access card for verification as that can easily be passed to other people. A fingerprint is significantly more difficult to duplicate or steal, as it is much harder to clone or steal a fingerprint.
  • Biometric systems are convenient: A card or a key or even a PIN may be forgotten or stolen, but you always have your biometrics with you. Installing hands-free or long-distance recognition (contactless biometrics technology) software takes convenience to another level altogether. Being allowed to enter your building just by having your face scanned and authenticating a person by measuring the gait are a few biometric methods.
  • Biometric Data Can Be Stored Securely: The information stored in a biometric database is highly encrypted making it virtually impossible to hack or reverse engineer.
  • Biometric Data Can Be Consistent and Efficient: Biometric data is most likely to remain the same throughout the life of an individual. Moreover, the biometric information stored as templates occupies very less storage, making this solution highly effective.
Downsides to Biometric Security Solutions

Although biometric security systems offer many advantages, but there are potential risks to consider-

  • High Costs: Installation and operation of a biometric system can be quite expensive.
  • Accuracy: No biometric system is 100% accurate. Each identity recognition technology has its own false acceptance and false rejection rates.
  • Influence of External Factors: Sunlight and the cleanliness of the sensor are capable of altering the efficacy of the system.
  • Privacy: The biometric database contains sensitive personal information about scores of individuals and the chances of them getting into the wrong hands are high. It is imperative to use and store biometric information as per local and international regulations and maintain the highest security standards.
  • Enrolment issues: Factors such as dark irises, dry fingers, burns on hands, vague fingerprints, or eye diseases make it impossible for entering some people’s identities into the Personal Identity Verification System using biometric recognition technologies.
  • Fraudulent use: No biometric authentication is foolproof. As with any technology, there can be breaches in security such as presenting a photo of a fingerprint or face which can fool some biometric systems. Hackers can duplicate your fingerprint using direct access to them or from a data breach.

Why Is Biometric Security Becoming

Important in Corporations Nowadays?

Companies are slowly realizing the benefits that biometric security devices can bring to the safety of physical environments as well as that of computers and other assets. In corporate buildings, unauthorized people can be restricted from accessing secure networks and systems, and sensitive files using any of the biometric security technologies.

Biometrics for Different Applications
  • Banking: Customers may find it extremely frustrating to constantly prove their identities while banking, but without this, the number of thefts and scams will continue to rise. Many banks conduct user authentication using biometrics for banking financial services such as facial recognition, fingerprint scanning, and voice verification. All of these can create a nearly impenetrable layer of security for the additional benefit of customers.
  • Business Security: Many companies have access control and time-tracking systems that incorporate biometric authentication. Hence, this can automatically track and records employees’ working hours and compliance with labor regulations.
  • Device Security: Android and iOS devices have added biometric authentication features such as fingerprint scanning. Apple introduced the FACE ID feature on its iPhone X in 2017 that projected infrared points onto a user’s face creating a “facial map”, which was then used to authenticate the user. Samsung introduced the “Intelligent scan” that combined facial recognition with an iris scan to provide biometric multi-factor authentication.
  • Payment Security: Fingerprint scanning and other biometric payment technologies are being used to secure financial transactions.
  • Home Security: Biometric technology such as smart door lock technology can allow an individual to enter a home or an office building only after verifying the identity.
  • Law enforcement: It is used in fingerprint or palm recognition biometrics of criminals.
  • Healthcare: It is used in national identity cards and health insurance cards for identification.
  • Airport security: Airports depend upon the efficient management of security. This field uses biometric technology such as iris recognition to authenticate its passengers and employees. Globally, the biometric system market is projected to make rapid progress and attain revenue of about USD 80 billion in the next 5 years.

The Biometric Boon for Travel

Advancements in biometric identification technology are offering seamless, “no-touch” experiences to tourists, helping them navigate various touchpoints without having to be in physical contact with human operators. Over 75% of airports are investing in biometric solutions, with airline investments in biometric boarding projected to increase by more than 50% by 2024. Paper identification may soon become a thing of the past; just as paper plane tickets have. Fear of misplaced identity papers, showing identification documents at every stage, and getting through security checks, luggage inspections, and long lines, all add to the stress for travelers. Biometric technology can alleviate many of these stresses and make the travel experience more enjoyable.

Cyber-Attacks - Constant Threat to Fintechs

With over 20% CAGR, the global fintech industry is expected to gain a revenue of approximately USD 300 billion by the end of 2022. This steady growth has driven the extent of cyber-attacks within the industry. Fintechs need to safeguard customer data, along with providing exceptional customer service. Biometric authentication might help in attaining both purposes. Secure identification is being made possible with the help of emerging technologies such as blockchain, biometrics, and artificial intelligence. In order to overcome the shortcomings of manual KYC and streamline the entire verification process, digital KYC solutions or e-KYC have evolved. Digital KYC helps combat identity thefts and data breaches, preventing sensitive information from getting into the wrong hands. Newer KYC and Anti Money Laundering (AML) regulations are challenging service providers to deliver strong and intuitive identity proofing.

Through face liveness detection, user identity is checked and presentation attack detection (PAD) is carried out. For a KYC with a biometrics onboarding process, photo verification technology matches the image on an ID with the live person in front of the camera. The Fintech sector, just like other global industries, is undergoing digital transformation at every level. With so much currency and customer loyalty at stake, every operation needs to be seamless and secure. Two-step authentication is the way to go. It incorporates both biometrics and digital ID to identify customers first and foremost through their digital identity and then via biometric authentication. This will not only serve to maximize safety but improve overall customer experience.


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Swara Keni

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