What is biometrics?

Biometrics is the modern security and financial systems rely extensively on technologies. These technologies furnish a statistical way of identifying unique human characteristics that may be physical or sometimes refer to behavioral traits. This mode of authentication provides security pertaining to unique human characteristics thus minimizing the count of fraudulence and chicanery.

Worldwide these solutions are facilitating in tracing the culprits’ thus solving criminal cases, securing geographical boundaries and protecting unique identities for a variety of other applications, security checks.

Through the use of the said technology distinctive human physical characteristics or behavioral patterns can be used for identification and granting digital access to various systems and databases. The elevated level of biometrics confidentiality increases efficiency of security systems and confidential enterprise data handling. 

The term Biometric is a portmanteau, derived from two words: Bio(s) meaning life and metric referring to measurements. So the term biometric refers to statistical measurement of human characteristics.

Why Biometrics?

This advanced era of digitalization calls for special security checks rather than the run of the mill methods of passwords to keep oneself safe from hackers and fraudulent entities.  Enterprises, nowadays, feel more satisfied with two factor authentication. In short— Passwords are not enough.

Since this technique relies on unique human characteristics so the question of replication is out of bounds. The eye scans, the fingerprints of the heart rate all provide evidence of an individual entity thus furnishing a higher level of security.

The conventional fingerprints method took a few days while even the insertion of passwords took a few minutes for processing. The biometric way of fingerprints or eye scanning responds in no time. The hike in financial use of thus technologies had made payments faster with little or no maintenance cost.

An elevated and advanced digital space calls for increased use of biometric technologies to make geographical borders, payments and enterprises secure and efficient. The IoT platform has a plethora of devices, applications and databases that require authentication prior to logging in, unauthorized users and hackers are obviously a constant threat. In lieu of secure and authorized users to access confidential data provide a reliable security check.

 The complex IoT landscape has pressurized governments and institutions to migrate towards biometric technologies in order to prevent breaches in the future.

Types of Biometrics

They are categorised under two broad categories:

  • Physical Identifiers
  • Behavioral Authentication

The Physical Identifiers:

 The following physical identifiers used, but not limited to, are:

  • Fingerprints recognition

Fingerprint scanners are being used pervasively. Smart devices like telephones, touchpads and panels serve as finger print scanners to allow authorized access. More than 50 % of companies rely on fingerprint technologies these days.


  • Face Recognition

Human facial features and patterns are used as the second most feature for authentication. The facial recognition systems use eigenfaces and local features for identification and recognition. These are being used by 14% of the companies worldwide.

  • EYES—Iris recognition

Iris scanning provides an effective street surveillance method. The Iris photographs of suspects are matched with records present in criminal databases for investigation purposes.

  • Eyes—Retina distance

The retina patterns of an individual’s eye are observed. The complex structure of the retina and the capillaries supplying blood to it are unique. The amount of reflection of light falling on the retina being specific helps differentiates individuals thus helping as a useful biometric technique

  • DNA Matching

This technique is mostly used by forensics. DNA matching provides reliable personal identification by matching short segments of DNA and their repeated patterns. This is coherent than retina and iris matching techniques

  • Voice recognition

This technique uses voice prints for identification. A person’s speech profile is digitized and stored in databases like fingerprints are done.  These speaking tone patterns differentiates an individual from others. This technique is widely used as a form of biometric

The Behavioral Authentication

The behavioral includes a variety of identifiers but are not limited to:

  • Galt

Galt refers to an individual walking style or gait for his recognition

  • Signature

Handwriting style and pen strokes can be used for analysis. The signature authentication may be Static or Dynamic. The static is a match with one specimen signature or ink signature. In the later cases, coordinates of signature are assessed. This technique is becoming more popular in the courts of laws.

Nowadays, body movements and device based gestures are other examples of Behavioral biometric techniques being used.

Who invented it and how does it works?

The process of using human characteristics on physical and behavioral characteristics dates back to thousands of years ago. Evidence confirms the use of fingerprint techniques on clay tablets by Babylonians in 500 BC. The Egyptians then used physical characteristics for identification.

Alphonse Bertillon, however, devised the method of using body measurements for classification of individuals in France, Paris in the 1800’s. This technique of fingerprinting was further refined by Edward Henry under the Henry Classification System.

A biometric device includes: A Scanner that reads or stores the biometric factor data that is to be verified.  Software converts the read data into digital data which is then matched with the biometric feature record already present in the database. This is similar to matching the checkpoints. Last, but not the least, A Database that stores data for comparison of the future data.

Apart from Smartphones and computers biometric systems are used globally by Law enforcement agencies, Immigration control and embassies along with health care systems.

The system does require a record of data that is often a privacy concern for people because a slight security breach or a powerful hacker if may access the data might put their security at risk. Moreover, security checks including eyes or voice related features might not be 100% efficient.  All these concerns do push companies to acquire a multiple factor authentication and escalation if there is a slight sign of warning.