What is a Biometric?

"A biometric is a measurable physical characteristic or personal trait used to recognize the identity, or verify the claimed identity, of a person through automated means."
Stephen Cobb -
International Computer Security Institute

"Biometric authentication is automatic identification, or identity verification, of individuals using behavioural and/or physiological characteristics."
Jim Wayman -
Director of National Biometric Test Center, San Jose State University

Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication measures the unique, invariable biological characteristics of an individual. One of the most common biometrics used today is fingerprint information.

The biometric information is captured during enrollment and translated into a template, which is stored for subsequent authentication. The template can be stored on a portable device such as a smart card or iButton, in a database on a server, or any other appropriate environment. During authentication, the biometric information is captured and compared against the stored template. If the user is valid, the two images will match, and authentication is achieved.

Biometric Applications

Biometrics can be used for authentication of persons for use in Access Control / Time & Attendance. Biometrics can also be employed as a replacement for passwords and / or cards in computer security system. With biometrics, there is no need for password maintenance or changes. A biometric cannot be lost or forgotten, so there is no need to reset passwords. Even applications where positive match is required through 1:N identification like checking of professional Blood donors, spot checking of personnel in high security areas, etc..

The Verificaton / Identification Technologies

The technologies that can currently identify are often less desirable to use (more effort, higher perceived intrusiveness) than other technologies, and many are still under development.


Hand Geometry

Iris Recognition

Face Recognition

Voice Recognition

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