What is Biometrics?

Fingerprints, the retina, the iris of the eyes and facial and voice features are increasingly common templates for identity verification. What do you know about biometrics and why does biometric identification apply to different security systems?

What is it?

Biometrics is the unambiguous recognition of people according to their physical features (fingerprints, retinas, iris, face...) or behaviour (signature, gait or even typing) which are unique and unmistakable characteristics in each case. They do not change over time and do not depend on circumstances or the environment. This process is similar to the one that human beings generally follow when recognising and identifying their fellow human beings by their physical appearance, their voice or their way of walking.

Depending on the recognition system used, we might refer to voice biometrics or facial and eye recognition, among others.

What is biometric recognition used for?

Biometrics is generally used to implement access controls to premises (fingerprint readers for door opening) and/or to systems/devices (fingerprint unlocking on mobile phones). Mathematical algorithms and techniques are used to recognise physical or behavioural traits of a person in order to identify them (authentication) and to grant or deny them access ( authorisation).

What are the advantages of using biometric systems?

  • It avoids users having to remember passwords for access to IT systems.
  • It avoids the loss of magnetic cards, keys or other similar access control mechanisms, which can lead to unauthorised access.
  • It makes it difficult for unauthorised access to occur, which is easily accomplished via password theft.
  • It allows reliable identification of individuals by using their unique characteristics.

Technological advances allow biometrics to increase the reliability of user identification based on unique personal traits or characteristics.


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