Latest trends in Bio-metric technology

With the emergence of online banking and e-government processes, criminals are utilizing sophisticated methods to counter established security measures. Organized crime is now focusing on data theft, as evidenced in the eBay scam where thousands of credit card details were compromised. This is where the current trends in cutting-edge biometrics play an important role.

Traditional biometric technology such as fingerprinting has few drawbacks. For instance, dummy fingers with copied fingerprints can bypass a system easily. To overcome this, finger vein recognition technology was developed. Here, a person is identified by the blood vessel pattern below their skin – which is unique to every individual. The method requires a person to scan their fingers using an infrared sensor and a charge-coupled device that highlights the veins as dark lines and stores their unique pattern in a back end database. Duplication in this method is impossible as it requires the vascular pattern of a living person. The technology is being considered for corporate banking customers, credit card authentication, automated teller machines, automobile security and employee attendance tracking in many countries.

Another biometric, facial recognition is being used by the banking industry for its mobile banking applications to authenticate transactions. 3D face recognition utilizes sensors to identify distinctive characteristics of face shape, contours of the eye sockets, chin, and nose. Even intelligence agencies and the US government are in the process of building the world's largest database of face-recognition data, to eventually identify every person in the country.

Along with face recognition software, voice printing is gaining momentum with governments. Millions of voiceprints are being stored to deal with kidnappings and other criminal activities. Institutions are using frequency estimation, hidden Markov models, pattern matching algorithms, neural networks and Gaussian mixture models to process and store voice prints in a database. If a kidnapper demands ransom through a phone call, he can be identified by making use of his voiceprint.

Some companies are performing research to go one step ahead by authenticating heartbeats of people. A company in Canada has developed a wearable wrist band that uses heartbeat authentication for making payments. It can be worn around the wrist and checks for a person's unique electrocardiograph, making false representation extremely difficult.

Biometric authentication eliminates the risk brought about by hacking and malware. It can provide the security that passwords and other traditional authentication methods cannot and hence create a secure environment.


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