The Ongoing Research for Methods of Identity Verification: Biometric Authentication

Identity verification exists as a necessary tool in various areas, particularly those of high restriction, such as laboratories, government agencies or national borders. Current developments often focus on highly accurate remote, or online, ID verification. ID verification is used in workplaces, to control access to equipment, in banking and so forth.

A Discussion on Biometric Authentication

Existing research indicates that biometric authentication, which relates largely to bodily measurements, is one of the most reliable methods to authenticate a person’s identity, because these characteristics are purely individual. Since physiological properties, i.e., fingerprints and facial features, are easily measurable, biometric technology is also user friendly – for example, we can now unlock our smartphones simply by holding the camera towards our faces, which was not possible in the past.

Online ID verification often involves the presentation and ID scanning of government-issued identity documents. Nonetheless, it is difficult to attain a one hundred percent accurate identification via a single biometric parameter, and since physiological traits may vary depending on environment, and with time, it is often necessary to combine several biometrics into one system. Ultimately, however, digital technology does allow for more effective ID verification, than physical human interaction, wherein human error can lead to missed details or false affirmation.

All biometric data needs to be stored in encrypted forms within secure databases, to protect sensitive data from attacks. Authentication methods are not only a means of permitting access, but also blocking unauthorised access attempts. When individuals, companies or government agencies select a biometric technique for implementation, the choice is generally contingent on the following factors: convenience, speed, memory capacity and security level.

There are several indicators that can be considered: FAR (False Acceptance Rate), FRR (False Rejection Rate), EER (Equal Error Rate or the balance between FAR and FRR), FTA (Failure to Acquire) and FTE (Failure to Enroll). A high false acceptance rate reflects on security vulnerability, whereas false rejection makes the system difficult for legitimate users.

In recent years, there has been growing interest in facial recognition techniques. As security technology advances, however, so does criminal activity. Research has discovered that Deepfakes (AI generated videos of individuals) are able to trick commercial facial recognition services. This may result in privacy and security issues, once again reminding us how important it is to integrate various verification methods, because we can expect means of synthetic media generation to become increasingly sophisticated.

Why Are Passwords an Ineffective Authentication and Security Measure?

Passwords have commonly been used as an authentication measure, but many users find generating various complex passwords a nuisance, which results in them using the same one across various systems. This is a security issue, and many users only change their passwords when prompted to by the system. Biometric authentication can address such concerns, since the process is hassle free and the system can only authenticate the individual bearing the necessary biometric markers, rather than anyone that happens to know the password.

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