Concept of Biometric Authentication Methods


There are several categories of biometric authentication methods.

Biometric Authentication Method and Description


Fingerprint scanner:

A user’s fingerprint pattern is scanned and stored. To authenticate, the user scans a finger again and the print is compared to the stored image in the authentication database. The fingerprint scanner can be a small separate hardware device, and is even built into some laptops, mice, and USB flash drives.

Hand geometry scanner:

An individual’s hand geometry can also be used for authentication. Hand scanners have pegs between which users insert their fingers. Once the initial scan is stored, and then used to authenticate, subsequent scans are compared to the stored scan in the authentication database.

Retinal scanner:

The pattern on a user’s retina is scanned and stored. To authenticate, the user scans an eye again and the pattern is compared to the authentication database.

Voice recognition:

The user provides a speech sample that is analyzed with voice-recognition software and stored. To authenticate, the user speaks again and the speech patterns are analyzed by the software and compared against the stored sample in the authentication database.

Face recognition:

A digital image of the user’s face is analyzed with face-recognition soft- ware and stored. To authenticate, the user’s face is scanned digitally again and the facial appearance is compared against the stored image in the authentication database.

Biometric authentication tokens:

Biometric user data can be scanned and encoded once and then stored on a chip on some form of portable electronic security token such as a smart card or a digital keyfob. To authenticate, the user presents the token instead of submitting to another biometric scan. Because the token could be lost or stolen, it is best to combine this type of authentication with a password or PIN, or at least to include a user photograph on the card for visual confirmation of the user’s identity.

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