Fingerprint recognition: a new dimension of security

 In Guardware Systems

Traditional methods of personal authentication, such as keys, cards, PINs and passwords are becoming less convenient and less secure as they are under constant attack from more and more sophisticated cyber-criminals. Instead of ‘what you know’ or ‘what you have’, biometrics is based on unique human characteristics – ‘what you are’. The most mature, most widely accepted and therefore most often used biometric technology is fingerprint recognition.

Dactyloscopy, the science behind fingerprint identification, has been used in investigative forensics for more than a century. Within the past 20 years, the advancement of personal computers has made it possible to use fingerprint identification in civil applications, such as logical and physical access control.

While various biometric technologies have been introduced in the past decade, none has as strong and well-documented background as fingerprint recognition. Some of them quickly disappeared (such as retinal scanning), while others are slowly finding their place on the biometric map. For example, a maturing technology like voice recognition may have an advantage in telephone banking, but cannot compete with fingerprint recognition in the field of physical access control.

In addition to being accurate and convenient, fingerprint recognition has the highest user acceptance among competing technologies, and remains ahead in the number of units being deployed. Today, fingerprint-based authentication is by far the most often selected biometric security measure, dominating the majority of the market.

How fingerprint recognition works

The system identifies a person by comparing the code created from the fingerprint image captured at access attempt (livescan template) to one or more pre-registered codes (reference templates). This comparison is based on a number of characteristic points (minutiae) of the fingerprint. The reference templates can be stored in a central authentication database, or on a personal smart card for increased privacy and security. Guardware’s unique, patent-protected biosensor also ensures that finger replicas are detected and rejected by the system.

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