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Biometrics Moving Forward Essay

3794 words - 16 pages

BoBiometrics to Secure Networks
John W. Sisson
American Public University

Contents
Abstract 3
Biometrics to Secure Networks 4
Biometrics Defined 4
Biometric Process 5
Fingerprinting 6
Face Recognition 7
Iris Recognition 8
Hand Recognition 9
Voice Recognition 9
Dynamic Signature 10
Keystroke Dynamics 10
Gait Recognition 10
Facial Thermograph 11
Emergence 11
Obstacles to Biometric Success 12
Conclusion 13
References 15

Abstract
Biometrics was once thought to be more of a science fiction means of authentication, not something that could be used in real life applications. The cost was much higher than most companies dreamed of spending. Username and ...view middle of the document...

For that reason, companies have sought other means to help secure networks. One method that is gaining steam is biometrics. Biometrics relies on a person’s physical features for authentication. Every person has uniqueness to their person that can be used to differentiate them from someone else. These differences can be utilized for secure authentication. While fingerprints have been the biometric of choice for criminal investigations, things like voice recognition, measuring blood vessels of a hand, or the characteristics of the iris are all means of authentication through biometrics. For years, these methods were out of reach due to high costs. However, as research has progressed, costs have dropped. This means more companies are looking at this as a means of securing network access.
Biometrics Defined
Biometrics for use in network security is defined as analyzing or calculating a person’s biological data to validate identification/authentication of the user to grant access to a network or system. Until recently, technology had not advanced to the point that the science of biometrics could be utilized in this manner. Even when the technology was developed, it was too expensive to be seen as a cost effective option for network security. However, as the technology advanced, the costs were greatly reduced, making it possible for smaller companies to consider biometrics a viable option. As new tools are developed, companies are finding ways to implement them in their environments. This means a security professional will see the tools implemented in a variety of ways. The different implementation methods and the uniqueness of user’s biometric signature allow for stronger authentication to be used, allowing passwords to ride off into the sunset (Poulsen, Sandler, Whalen, & Tillet, 2008).
Biometric Process
To understand the biometric concept would be to define the processes. Biometrics need to provide a reliable means of authentication and to do that there are several steps that need to take place. Biometrics relies on a sensor, signal processing algorithm, matching algorithm, database or data store, and a decision process. The first step is to record a means of identification. This is done by the sensor. Once the data is captured, it will need to be translated into a digital image. That image is then run through the signal processing algorithm to create a unique template for the individual user. From there, the template is stored in a secure place that allows the system to recall it for comparison. After all this is done, the user can then attempt to access the system. When he or she does, another digital image is captured. That image is then compared to the stored image by the matching algorithm. The decision process determines if a match has been made, granting the user access, or if the images do not match, turning the user away.
One of the first things a company must decide when implementing the use of biometrics for their network...

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