Putting a Finger on Which Biometrics Are Handy Today by ProQuest

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									                               Technology Focus: Biometrics




      Putting a Finger on Which
     Biometrics Are Handy Today
        In-depth on one-to-one verification technologies
                                                 By Jon Mooney




                                         I
                                              f access control systems are to control where people — not
                                              credentials — can and cannot go, then only a biometric
                                              device can truly provide this capability. That’s why more and
                                              more biometrics readers are showing up in access control
                                              systems. How do you determine the right biometric technol-
                                         ogy for you?
                                         Before getting specific, let’s discuss two important topics
                                    relating to biometrics that are somewhat intertwined: a one-to-
                               many match vs. a one-to-one match and privacy issues.
                       An important distinction must be made between “identification” — a one-
                    to-many match, and “verification” — a one-to-one match. A system designed
                    to “identify” a person compares a biometric presented by a person against all
                    biometric samples stored in the database. The one-to-many system identifies the
                    individual if the presented biometric matches one of the many samples on file.
                    This type of system is used by the police to identify criminals.
                          The verification process, however, involves a one-to-one search. A live
                           biometric presented by the user is compared to a stored sample —
                               previously given by that individual during enrollment — and the
                                    match is confirmed. However, the actual hand geometry,
                                        vein pattern or fingerprint is not stored in a database.
                                            Instead, a mathematical equation, or algorithm,
                                               creates a unique number that represents the
                                                points measured on the finger, veins or hand.
                                                The number — or template — that results
                                                from this equation is all that is stored.
                                                   When the user presents an ID card or
                                                enters an assigned PIN, only that template
                                                is transmitted. When the employee pres-
                                               ents his/her hand or finger, the reader runs

22    SECURITY TECHNOLOGY EXECUTIVE • January 2010
the authentication process to determine        networks. They are also a good choice for a        of the hand on or near the scanner. A
if the template that is stored matches         small lab or admittance into the telecom-          camera takes a digital picture using near-
the template of the biometric being pre-       munications room for a select few people.          infrared light. The hemoglobin in one’s
sented. If there is a match, the person is       Vein Recognition. Like one’s hand                blood absorbs the light, so veins appear
verified.                                      geometry or fingerprint, the layouts of            black in the picture. As with all the other
                                               a person’s veins are unique. To use a              one-to-one biometric types, the software
Privacy should not be a concern                vein recognition system, the user simply           creates a reference template based on
   In some cases, companies imple-             places the finger, wrist, palm or the back         the shape and location of the vein struc-
menting biometrics will initially receive
employee resistance, 
								
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