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Technology has been part and parcel of human development in the world; hence, there is a growing need to follow and change with the advancements of the world brought about by technological development. Biometric authentication is a method of identification of people by identifying their characteristics and traits. All human beings have traits that differentiate them from others. It can also be used in computer science as a method of control or access control like through the finger print. In most cases, these biometric identifiers use some measurable characteristics like physiological characteristics. Some of the physiological cases that can easily be identified by the biometric machine are the one’s voice, finger and hand print, DNA, and even one’s behavior. In some cases, these factors can be used to identify behavioral characteristics. The biometric identifier differentiates people through their typing rhythm and gait (Kung, Mak, Lin, 2005).
Usage of biometric authentication system
Biometric authentication is seen and noted to be the most durable and the utmost secure and a reliable form to control access from foreign beings. This device has software that is fitted to do the job efficiently and also has scanners assisting in the data input, which is inherently human identification. It has been used as the best security protocol today, since it has been proved to be the most reliable means of security. This is because the method of authentication takes a step in order to show the real user of the particular machine. The first step is the authenticating agent identifying the real user and then the agent is verified. The final step, which goes in a fraction of a minute, is confirming the identity that has been provided by the user to the identifier. This is a method that has been identified to be a way to curb insecurity of data and personal belongings. This is through allowing only authorized individuals to access some vital data of a person. Biometric Authentication System is a device that is automated and is used by many institutions, as a method to verify and recognize human beings. This is a good and secure method to protect data of living human beings’ behavioral and physiological characteristics (Miller, Vandome, McBrewster, 2009).
Biometric authentication has some of the things that it requires the user of the machine to remember. Some of the things that may be necessary for the user to remember include password, personal identification number, popularly known as PIN, and pass phrases. Passwords have been found to be the most and widely used form of security in the devices, but they are closely followed by the PIN. According to a research done, passwords have been found to be frequently used, since they are convenient, as compared to all other methods that are used for authentication. However, any user must remember the user’s password or else lose their access. The users have to be cautioned against losing their password, forgetting, or even being forced to surrender the password to malicious people. Every password must comply with the password policy that shows whether the password is weak or strong. A weak password should not be used at all costs, so that security can be assured. The user of any password, however, should be made unusually strong, but all in the entire user should not make it so difficult for him to remember (Zhang, Jing, Yang, 2006).
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The biometric authentication has some requirements, among them an authentication device or a device that is unique to a single person. Each device has a software that recognizes the specific characteristics of a single person. This type of device analyses some of the unique traits of a human, like the position of the eyes on the face and even the jaw line. This is a type of software that is used in the police departments and security personnel. Each device is used in verifying and validating the device. Such devices may include cards that have all the biometric data of a person, which include age, sex, and at some instances it may include a photo of the user. As the name of the device suggests, the biometric authentication device, uses physical traits of a person that are also known a biometric (Zhang, Jing, Yang, 2006).
The human biometric used to verify the user are retina and iris of the eye, finger and palm prints, face, voice, or even the DNA of a person. Voice of a person can be used in the recognition device. This is achieved by a person first recording his voice to the system; hence, any other voices will be judged and compared to the initial voices recorded. In most cases, this method is not commonly used because it has become easy to fabricate voices. This is important for any institution to know about the effectiveness and the challenges pertaining to each and every system to be used. Retinal scanning also is another type of recognition method, where the system scans the eye. This type of biometric identification system is only used where high profile security is required. The system is used whenever access of some vital information is only allowed to a specific person. This is explained by the fact that every individual has a unique pattern at the back of the eye, and the scanner is focused on this pattern; hence, identifies the individual’s characteristics (Campilho, Kamel, 2010).
One of the crucial areas, where this system is fully utilized, is the banking institution, where there is the automated teller machine (ATM). Through this machine, a user can withdraw money from his bank account, and recently it was introduced that clients can also deposit using this method. These machines operate through inserting a card that a user is issued with. The card contains biometric data of a person and each user has a unique PIN number; therefore, the card is a way of accessing the person’s account. Signature also is another form of the biometric identification system. This is often used in the banks through the manual way of depositing and withdrawing money. The identification is done by manual signing and comparison of the signature with the one at the bank premises. This comparison of the signatures is done digitally through a digital system that verifies the validity of the signatures.
Government department has also used this method and the system in identifying the individuals and the citizens of the country. Immigration department of the government is the department that this system is widely used by. This is through offering of identification cards that have all biometric data of a citizen. This method of registration helps in identifying the genuine citizens and any immigrants in the country. For security purposes, most homes have also installed a similar system to the houses and offices to control access. Fingerprint recognition can be termed as a type of biometric authentication system. This type of identification system is commonly used in many sectors of the economy. Fingerprint of a person is unique to each individual and, therefore, the security of access is assured. This system is, therefore, used in making personal security, as it avoids breach of security, and it only allows access of the individuals that are allowed to do it. In most industries, hand geometry is used. This is a system that works best, where there are many users and it is efficient in an unclean environment. These characteristics and considering the set-up of an industry, make it the most preferred system in the industry. All the organizations should carry out an audit to identify, which recognition system is most appropriate and the best. Wrong choice of biometric identification can lead to production of results that are not bearable (Elsworth, 2010).
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In some countries, the biometric identification system has been fully embraced to the point of being used in the political voting system. A voter’s biometric data is collected during the registration process. This is done some days before the actual voting day in order to allow the storage of the data. Once a voter’s data is collected, it is stored in the machine’s reader memory that will be used to identify the voter on the actual voting day. This has the countries in carrying out a credible election. This type of system helps a lot, as it ensures that the voter only votes once.
Advantages of Biometric authentication system
The main advantage that this system has is that it has helped in improving security. This system has provided a convenient, yet a low cost, security tier. Some information is sensitive and must be put in a highly secretive manner. The system has helped this in that only the authorized persons access the data. This system has also reduced to a significant size fraud in work places. This is because the system provides technology that is hard to forge. This mostly has helped the banks to reduce money theft from their accounts through fake personification. In some banks, in addition to the ATMs, they have introduced the finger print scanner to improve on the security.
This system has also reduced the problems caused by loss of identification cards or forgetting passwords and PINs. This is because the system uses physiological attributes; hence, reduces access using lost or stolen identification cards. The system reduces the cost that is used in administration of passwords. It also replaces the passwords that are at times hard to remember that can even be shared to reduce security. The system has helped the clients that had a problem in remembering the passwords and the PIN.
This kind of system helps in integrating a wide range of solutions in an organization. This is because it makes it possible to trace a person automatically on what and when an event or a transaction is made. This makes it possible to link the individual with the act done. It is also advantageous, because it stores all the biometric data of every employee that may be retrieved when need be (Campilho, Kamel, 2010).
Disadvantages of Biometric authentication system
Disadvantages of this system, however, are not many, but when they occur they might be acutely fatal. One of the main disadvantages is the cost associated with the installation of the system. The cost of installation is extremely high, and that has slowed their initial installation in many organizations. Criminals have come up with a method of opening up the biometric locks, which may reduce the security credibility. Another disadvantage is that the system requires storing some personal data that may change due to some circumstances, like illness. For security reasons, the system is designed in a manner that the person authorized to access premises must be present for the premises to open up and that means that, in case of any malicious people, security of the authorized person may be put into massive danger. In cases of voice recognition, a person’s voice changes with time, like when affected by flu or in the instances, when there is too much noise.
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Biometric identification system has come to age for many in the world, as it has helped mostly in improving the security of a place. This research can be concluded in that the system should be embraced worldwide. However, their usage is tremendously vital, but it must also be audited before any acquisition is made. This is done only to make sure that the right system is installed in order to avoid any faulty results. The governments, therefore, should invest in this system in order to improve the lives of the citizens and avoid too much costs (Elsworth, 2010).