June 12, 2022

Anonybit Team

8 Popular Biometric Authentication Techniques

Blog woman trying to learn about Biometric Authentication Techniques

In today’s fast-paced digital world, securing personal and sensitive data has become more critical than ever. With cyber-attacks on the rise, traditional password-based security measures often prove inadequate. This is where Biometric Authentication Techniques come into play, offering a seamless and secure way to access devices, applications, and confidential information. Read on if you want to learn more about the different types of biometric authentication techniques, understand their use cases, and explore comparative analyses.

Anonybit’s identity management platform provides an unparalleled solution to elevate your understanding of Biometric Authentication Techniques. With a focus on simplicity and efficiency, the platform can help you delve into the world of biometrics and ensure that you deploy them safely and securely.  

What Is Biometric Authentication?

person using his phone - Biometric Authentication Techniques

Biometric authentication involves using some part of your physical makeup to authenticate you, such as a selfie, fingerprint, or iris scan. This method compares the physical aspect presented for authentication to a stored sample for verification. The success of the authentication process is determined by the match between the presented biometric data and the stored sample.

With biometric authentication, the physical characteristic being examined is usually associated with a unique username used to make decisions once the person has been authenticated. The choice of physical characteristics and the number of characteristics used depends on the infrastructure and desired security level.

Setup and Registration

To implement biometric authentication, the appropriate infrastructure must be in place. After setting up the infrastructure, users are registered for the system. Some products allow users to self-register, while others require a registration agent to complete the registration process. 

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How Does Biometric Authentication Work?

Biometric authentication works by comparing live biological data to biometric indicator data (a template) stored on file. If the two match, the system authenticates the user. If they don’t, the authentication fails.

Advantages Of Using Biometrics For Authentication

benefits of Biometric Authentication Techniques

1. Biometric Authentication Is Faster

Biometric authentication provides a speedy method of verifying identity, reducing the time required for verification. It ensures a seamless and efficient user experience. With selfies in particular, the simple process of posing for a smartphone or webcam enables quick access and transactions, enhancing user satisfaction.

2. Biometric Authentication Enhances User Experience

A survey by VISA has shown that over 65% of customers are familiar with biometrics. Most people are already used to the process, especially regarding facial recognition technology. Biometric security methods, like facial recognition, require minimal user effort, resulting in a smooth authentication process. Other processes like palm biometrics are gaining acceptance in points of sale. Organizations can elevate user experience and satisfaction by incorporating biometric authentication in services. 

3. Traditional Authentication Methods Are Less Trustworthy

Common authentication methods like passwords are susceptible to cyberattacks, such as phishing. 81% of hacking-related breaches involve stolen or weak passwords. Other methods like document and token authentication, may present usability challenges and increase the risk of fraud if the document or token is lost. Knowledge-based authentication, which uses personal questions like mother’s maiden name, is also unsafe due to information sharing on social media and personal data stolen in data breaches.

4. Biometric Authentication Limits Fraud

While no security technology is entirely impervious to fraud, biometric authentication makes it challenging for fraudsters to deceive the system. Incorporating spoofing and liveness checks makes biometric authentication a robust defense against unauthorized access. This robustness significantly enhances security measures against fraudulent activities.

By adopting biometric authentication, organizations can improve security, streamline user experiences, and reduce the risks associated with traditional authentication methods.

8 Popular Biometric Authentication Techniques

fingerprint scanner - Biometric Authentication Techniques

1. Fingerprint Identification

Fingerprint identification is a popular biometric authentication technique that utilizes individuals’ unique fingerprints to authenticate them. This technique involves using a lens and sensor to capture a high-resolution image of a fingerprint and comparing it to a previously registered fingerprint. The system authenticates the user if the fingerprint matches the one previously enrolled.

Fingerprint identification is commonly used to unlock devices such as phones, laptops, tablets, security systems, and doors. The uniqueness of fingerprints makes them an effective way to verify individual identity reliably.

2. Facial Recognition

Facial recognition is a biometric authentication technique that compares the distinctive details of an individual’s face to those stored in the system’s database. This technique maps facial features tocreate a unique facial profile.

Facial recognition is widely used in security systems, mobile devices, and public surveillance. The ability to quickly and accurately identify individuals based on their facial features makes it a valuable tool in various applications.

Learn more about Facial Recognition here.

3. Iris Scans

Iris scans are a biometric authentication technique that analyzes the fine capillary network of the iris, the part of the eye that provides oxygen and nutrients. This technique involves using a scanner to beam a low-energy infrared light into the eye to capture and compare the iris’s unique pattern with those stored in the system database.

Iris scans are highly accurate due to the uniqueness of irises, even among identical twins. This technique is commonly used in high-security settings such as government facilities and financial institutions.

Learn more about Iris Scans here.

4. Voice Recognition

Voice recognition is a biometric authentication technique that compares a sample of an individual’s voice, known as a voiceprint, to a sample stored in the system database. This technique analyzes multiple frequencies in the voice to verify the user’s identity.

Voice recognition is a rapidly growing market due to the uniqueness and consistency of voiceprints throughout an individual’s life. This technique is used in voice-activated devices, call centers, and security applications.

Learn more about Voice Recognition here.

5. Palm Recognition

Palm recognition is a biometric authentication technique that uses the rich features present in palm prints for identification. They contain various features such as palm geometry, ridge patterns, and wrinkles. This modality is frequently combined with vein recognition. Veins are distinct and subdermal, making them less prone to spoofing than other modalities. Vein recognition technology is used in high-security applications and healthcare settings.

Palm recognition requires dedicated readers and is commonly used in payments, access control, and time and attendance tracking.

Learn more about Palm Recognition here.

8. Behavior Recognition

Typing pattern recognition is a biometric authentication technique that analyzes an individual’s keystroke dynamics for authentication. This technique measures factors such as press time, seek time, flight time, and other typing characteristics to verify the user’s identity.

Typing pattern recognition is commonly used in secure logins, fraud prevention, and identity verification applications. Individuals’ unique typing patterns make this technique effective for biometric authentication.

Learn more about Typing Pattern Recognition here.

4 Common Challenges Associated With Biometric Authentication

person facing issues - Biometric Authentication Techniques

1. False Positives and Negatives

Biometric systems can sometimes misidentify users. A false positive occurs when an unauthorized person is incorrectly recognized, while a false negative happens when a legitimate user is not recognized. These errors can affect user trust and system reliability. It’s essential to tune algorithms to minimize errors and improve system accuracy carefully.

2. Data Security

Biometric data needs to be stored securely to prevent breaches. Unlike passwords, biometric traits are permanent and unique to each individual, so if this data is stolen, it poses a long-term security risk. Robust encryption and secure storage solutions are essential. Biometric data should be treated as sensitive personal information and protected accordingly.

3. Implementation Costs

Setting up a biometric authentication system can be expensive. This includes the costs of biometric sensors, software, integration with existing systems, and ongoing maintenance. Smaller organizations may find these costs prohibitive, so budgeting for them and exploring cost-effective solutions is crucial.

4. User Acceptance

Getting users to accept and trust biometric systems can be challenging. Some may have privacy concerns, while others might find the technology intrusive or inconvenient. Ensuring user education and addressing their concerns is crucial for successful implementation. Providing transparency about how biometric data is used and stored can help build trust and acceptance among users.

Implementing biometric authentication can greatly enhance security, but these challenges need to be carefully managed to ensure a successful and secure rollout. Addressing these challenges early in the planning phases can help mitigate potential issues down the line.

Biometric Authentication Use Cases

different use cases of Biometric Authentication Techniques

Healthcare Use Case of Biometric Authentication

In the healthcare industry, hospitals and clinics leverage biometric authentication to accurately track patients and prevent mix-ups while ensuring the security of patients’ information. Using biometrics, healthcare providers can securely store and access patients’ medical histories whenever needed, ensuring efficient and effective care.

Travel Use Case of Biometric Authentication

The travel sector is increasingly adopting biometric authentication technologies, such as e-gates, automatic boarding, and Delta’s Digital ID program, to enhance security and streamline the passenger experience.

E-Gates

E-gates utilize facial recognition technology to verify a passenger’s identity by matching their face to the biometric data stored in their e-passport chip. This allows for expedited immigration clearance without needing to interact with an officer.

Automatic Boarding

Airlines like Delta have implemented biometric boarding, where passengers can board flights using their face as identification without presenting a boarding pass or physical ID. This is enabled by matching the passenger’s face to the data from their e-passport or other travel document.

Delta Digital ID

Delta’s Digital ID program allows eligible customers to use facial recognition technology for bag drop and security screening at select airports. Passengers opt in by providing their passport information and Known Traveler Number, and then they can be verified using just their face at dedicated Digital ID lanes. This eliminates the need to present a physical ID or boarding pass repeatedly.

These biometric solutions aim to create a seamless, efficient travel journey while maintaining robust identity verification using the secure biometric data stored in e-passports and other official documents.

Law Enforcement Use Case of Biometric Authentication

Law enforcement agencies leverage various biometric data types for identification purposes, including fingerprints, facial features, iris patterns, voice samples, and DNA. With biometric authentication, agencies can quickly access confidential data, improving operational efficiency. Automated Fingerprint Identification Systems (AFIS) allow for swift fingerprint matching against a vast database, streamlining law enforcement processes.

Banking Use Case of Biometric Authentication

Anti-money laundering and Know Your Customer regulations necessitate robust client identification and authentication solutions in the banking industry. Implementing biometric security enables banks to prevent fraud, such as identity theft or spoofing, thereby enhancing customer trust and security in financial transactions. Beyond the KYC process, biometric authentication can be leveraged for wire transfer verification, step-up authentication for high-risk transactions, help desk authentication for account recovery, and continuous authentication during online banking sessions to mitigate account takeover risks.

Authentication Use Cases

  • Wire Transfer Verification: Requiring biometric authentication, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, for high-value wire transfers adds an extra layer of security and ensures the legitimate account holder is authorizing the transaction.
  • Step-Up Authentication: For high-risk transactions or activities flagged by risk engines, banks can prompt customers to perform an additional biometric authentication step to confirm their identity and prevent fraud.
  • Help Desk Authentication: When customers need to reset passwords or regain account access, biometric verification can securely authenticate their identity before granting access, preventing social engineering attacks.
  • Continuous Authentication: Implementing passive biometrics, such as behavioral biometrics or facial recognition, can continuously authenticate users during online banking sessions, detecting potential account takeovers in real-time.

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Which Type Of Biometric Authentication Is Best?

woman wondering about different Biometric Authentication Techniques

When deciding on the best biometric authentication method for an organization, it is important to consider several factors to ensure that it aligns with its security and environmental needs, user convenience, and budget. Below are some considerations to keep in mind when choosing a biometric authentication method:

1. Security Requirements

The level of security the organization requires should be the primary consideration when choosing a biometric authentication method. Not all biometric methods are applicable to every use case. Organizational needs may vary from basic security requirements, such as time and attendance tracking, to high-security needs, such as access to secure facilities or data. In some cases, users may be wearing masks and gloves for example, necessitating a reliance on iris biometrics.

2. User Convenience

A biometric authentication method’s ease of use and user acceptance are crucial to its successful implementation. The chosen method should be user-friendly and convenient for users to adopt. For example, selfie or palm recognition may be more convenient for users than iris scanning due to its familiarity and ease.

3. Scalability

When choosing a biometric authentication method, consider the organization’s growth potential. The selected method should be scalable to accommodate the organization’s future needs. For example, facial recognition may be more scalable for organizations with plans for expansion than methods like palm vein recognition, which may require additional hardware for every new user.

4. Implementation Costs

The cost of implementing a biometric authentication system varies depending on the method chosen. Factors to consider include hardware costs, software licensing fees, integration costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses. Biometric methods like voice recognition may have a lower implementation cost than iris scanning, which may require specialized hardware.

5. Legal and Privacy Concerns

Biometric technologies are regulated by laws and standards to protect user privacy and data security. For instance, some countries regulate the use of biometric data through data protection laws, such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union. In all cases, it is considered best practice to collect user consent and to avoid sharing or selling biometric data without it. 

6. Integration with Existing Systems

The biometric authentication method should seamlessly integrate with the organization’s existing systems and infrastructure. Consider compatibility with the organization’s hardware, operating systems, and software applications. For example, the chosen biometric method should be compatible if an organization uses an orchestration platform.

7. Usability and Application

Different biometric authentication methods have varying usability and applications. Consider the intended use case when selecting a method. For example, replacing voice recognition with facial recognition in a home assistant would limit the ability to give commands. On the other hand, facial recognition technology implemented into a banking app can help to quickly and securely authenticate a client.

Choosing the best biometric authentication method for an organization involves a careful consideration of security requirements, user convenience, scalability, implementation costs, error rates, legal and privacy concerns, integration capabilities, usability, and application. By evaluating these factors, organizations can select a biometric authentication method that aligns with their unique needs and goals.

What Is Multimodal Biometric Authentication?

different layers of authentication - Biometric Authentication Techniques

Multimodal biometric authentication adds layers to an authentication process by requiring multiple identifiers, which are read simultaneously during the process. This can be considered a form of multifactor authentication (MFA), though clearly much different than the better-known form where sensitive information is entered into a mobile and/or desktop device. Increased security without the need for key cards, access cards, passwords or personal identification numbers is among the advantages for organizations that choose to adopt this approach.

Malicious actors who attempt to hack or fake their way through an authentication system have a harder time faking two or more unique characteristics of an individual than if they were to try faking only one. 

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Book A Free Demo To Learn More About Our Integrated Identity Management Platform

At Anonybit, we help companies prevent data breaches and account takeover fraud with our decentralized biometrics technology. With our decentralized biometrics framework, companies can enable passwordless login, wire verification, step-up authentication, help desk authentication and more using any biometric modality.

Comprehensive Security Solutions for Companies

We are on a mission to protect companies from data breaches, account takeovers and synthetic identity on the rise, privacy regulations, and digital transformation. To achieve this goal, we offer security solutions such as:

  • Secure storage of biometrics and PII data
  • Support for the entire user lifecycle
  • 1:1 authentication and 1:N matching for lookups and deduplication

Balancing Privacy and Security with Anonybit’s Integrated Platform

Anonybit eliminates the tradeoffs between privacy and security. Prevent data breaches, reduce account takeover fraud, and enhance the user experience across the enterprise using Anonybit. Book a free demo today to learn more about our integrated identity management platform.

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