When it comes to authentication, the use of biometrics is becoming increasingly popular. Many businesses that use or possess confidential information have been using two or three factor authentication practices for years, and many are now turning to the use of biometrics as one of the factors.
In general, biometrics refers to identifying someone based on their personal traits and/or characteristics. Some people don’t realize how many types of biometric authentication tactics there currently are. The use of biometrics doesn’t only cover the use of fingerprint scanning—there are multiple types of biometric tactics that can be implemented. From signatures to voice recognition and everything in between, the following are the different types of biometrics currently available today.
A person’s signature is a form of biometrics, but it’s not the actual signature that is processed. Any good forger can see an individual’s signature and replicate it for access, but machines that use signatures as an authentication tactic are not looking at the signature—they’re looking at the speed in which the signature was written as well as the pressure used and the direction of the utensil. This is not as easy to forge, making it a great authentication tactic.
Eye scans are one of the more popular biometric tactics used today, at least in spy movies. Both the retina and the iris of the eye can be scanned and used as an authentication method, but many companies don’t employ this tactic because it is extremely expensive to install and operate.
Another form of biometrics that isn’t extremely popular is the use of hand scans. A hand scan will check the height and width of a person’s hand and even measure the angles between each finger. Obviously, unless you have someone’s hand, it’s hard to falsify.
The use of fingerprint scans are much more popular than hand scans. Everyone has a unique fingerprint, and the technology needed to read these is much more readily available and easier to manage than an eye or entire hand scan. Many financial institutions have implemented the use of fingerprint scans to ensure that only certain employees have access to certain areas.
Facial recognition determines authentication through certain facial features. Most of the software that performs facial recognition looks at the cheekbones, nose, eyes and mouth to determine the identity of an individual. Though a great biometric, these programs have received negative feedback to the natural changes in one’s face. For example, if an individual gained or lost a significant amount of weight, they will not pass the facial recognition test. This is also true for anyone who may have had cosmetic work performed on their face.
Voice recognition listens to the actual voice of an individual to determine identity. It listens for tone and pitch, and it only listening for the sounds that come out and not the actual content.
The use of biometrics is extremely popular in the world of authentication. The types listed in this article are those that are currently available today, but with our ever-advancing technology, there are plenty more to come in our future.
Stella Brown is a technologist with vast experience on 2FA methods. Stella lives in Colorado.