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Biometric flaws must be worked out

Biometrics is the process of determining an individual’s identity based on physical or behavioral characteristics. For a long time, the technologies were considered flawless in this sense and, as a result, they are being deployed more frequently within access control systems and other physical security solutions.

Advances in other technologies, however, have made it possible for people to dupe a biometric system by gathering materials to create a fake fingerprint, according to a SecurityInfoWatch report. Fortunately, Stephanie Schuckers, professor of electrical and computer engineering at Clarkson University, believes she has developed a way to detect the cheaters.

“People can take materials and make a fake finger and pretend to be someone else,” Schuckers said, according to the news source. “We have a piece of software that determines whether the fingerprint is fake or not.”

Schuckers said that fingerprint scanners are programmed to record an image of a person’s finger. Fake fingerprints, however, have a different pattern than real fingers, which her software is able to pick up, determining the difference between a real and imitated fingerprint, SecurityInfoWatch noted.

The ability to detect fraudulent users will become increasingly important as more organizations adopt biometric access control systems. According to a study by BCC Research, the global market for biometrics is forecast to expand at a compound annual growth rate of nearly 19 percent through 2015, eventually generating approximately $12 billion in revenue, up from only $5 billion in 2010.

Challenges in biometrics
BCC Research said automated fingerprint identification systems and fingerprint biometrics technologies are estimated to make up the majority of the growing biometrics industry. These systems are predicted to expand at a CAGR of more than 19 percent through 2015, at which time they will generate approximately $6.7 billion of the total $15 billion in revenue. This is a significant increase from the $2.7 billion in revenue fingerprint technologies generated in 2010.

Analysts said there are constant obstacles and changes that need to be tackled before biometrics will reach mainstream adoption.

“There are going to be vulnerabilities involved in biometrics,” Schucker said, according to SecurityInfoWatch. “We need to recognize what those vulnerabilities are and make a decision about what level of security we desire.”

As biometrics evolves and becomes more credible, more organizations will likely adopt the technology to enhance the physical security of sensitive assets.

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