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Biometric authentication

Biometric authentication

(also realistic authentication)

Biometric authentication definition

An authentication method that uses biometric data to verify a user’s identity. Because each person’s biometric identifiers (physiological characteristics of their body) are unique, security systems can compare the sample presented with the template stored in its database to establish a match.

Because biometric data is always at hand, requires no memorization, and is difficult to forge, it is a popular choice in multi-factor authentication setups.

Real types of biometric authentication

  • Facial recognition uses software to analyze the geometry of a person’s face (such as the distance between the eyes and the distance between the nose and chin) and compare it to the stored digital model of the account owner’s facial data.
  • Retina scanning works by shining a light into the eye to map its unique pattern of blood vessels.
  • Fingerprint scanning uses fingerprint readers to scan fingers, analyze the ridges and patterns of the image, and compare the data to the stored digital model.
  • Vein scanning analyzes the patterns of blood vessels visible from the surface of a person’s skin.
  • Behavioral biometrics (“behaviometrics”) analyze the behavior of the user, including their ticks and habits. Behavioral biometric data includes keyboard typing rhythm, mouse movement, and writing a signature.

Further reading

Ultimate digital security