Advantages And Disadvantages Of Biometrics

Submitted By tgibbi1992
Words: 3062
Pages: 13

The world of security is rapidly changing due to the growth in technology. In an attempt to make technological systems more secure, biometric security measures are being established. There are two types of biometrics, physiological, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, and behavioral, such as keystrokes or signatures
(Biometric­Solutions, 2013). Many organizations are placing systems that rely on biometrics rather than passwords to allow access to databases, physical areas, or just logging onto a system. There are many different types of biometrics that are being used and all have great advantages but there are still some disadvantages that come along with them. In general, biometrics offer great security benefits to individuals as well as companies.
First off, biometrics cannot be lost or forgotten like passwords (Jain, Ross, & Pankanti,
2006). They are a physical part of you or a characteristics. Secondly, they cannot be copied, shared, or stolen (Jain, Ross, & Pankanti, 2006). Forging a physical trait of someone is both time consuming and expensive and therefore deters people from attempting to do so. Finally, it requires the person to be physically there for authentication. This helps keep employees honest because they are unable to argue around whether they were there or not. For example, this can be beneficial for companies with employee’s time keeping. Co­workers are no longer able to punch their fellow workers time card when they are not there to prevent them from being in trouble for tardiness. There are many different types of biometric security systems used today to make life in the working world more secure and easier.

Fingerprint Recognition
Fingerprints are the most commonly used and well known biometric today. It is very easy to use and implement and in large quantities it can be very cheap, down to about twenty dollars a scanner (Jain, Ross, & Pankanti, 2006). Fingerprints are unique to every individual because of the different ridges and valleys on a person’s fingertips which makes it easy to distinguish between individuals. Apple illustrated just how easy it is to implement and use by releasing a fingerprint security system on their iPhone 5.
Instead of the traditional number and/or alphabetical password to unlock their phones, the user is now able to scan their fingerprint to gain access. This makes it so that others cannot guess passwords or happen to shoulder surf and see the user enter their password. Businesses are implementing fingerprint scanners throughout their offices to track when employees arrive at work and leave, allow access to areas to certain employees, and for verification to log onto an employees’ computer.

Although there are many benefits to fingerprints, there are some issues that arise as well. One of the main problems with fingerprint scanners is the actual scan of the fingerprint. A finger can scan differently if it is dry versus wet, Figure 1 illustrates how different the quality can be due to dryness, wetness, and scarring. This demonstrates the second issue, injury. Cuts or burns can alter a person's fingerprint which can cause a false match for a person (Jain, Ross, & Pankanti, 2006). In order to combat this particular issue, most scanners are set up to scan all fingertips of the user so if someone suffers an injury to just one or a few fingers, they are still able to use their others, however, if someone unfortunately suffers injury to all of their fingers, such as burning them, this creates a larger problem. Also, many laborers have calluses that change and alter their fingerprints. With burns, cuts, and calluses there are no longer unique valleys and ridges to identify the user and therefore fingerprinting would no longer be effective in identifying this individual. Still, there are many other options for biometric security. Facial Recognition
Facial images are one of the most common