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When discussing biometrics, it is essential to remember that this type of technology can be broken down into two categories: behavioral biometrics and physical biometrics. Physical biometrics utilizes body measurements and features unique to each human to identify and differentiate one individual from another. Some examples of features that can be used to identify an individual include:
However, this is not the only form of biometric identification that can be used for security purposes. Behavioral biometrics are a widely-used form of technology that is most frequently used as a way to prevent fraud on the internet. This type of security focuses on how individuals behave online to determine whether or not they are who they claim to be.
Because most people have a great deal of their personal information on the internet, it is becoming increasingly easy for hackers and other cybercriminals to access this data—behavioral biometric technology, however, can remedy this. Three of the principal areas that behavioral biometrics seek to analyze include:
Each of the factors listed are unique for each individual and can thereby be used to determine who is engaging in online activity.
One of the most popular forms of physical biometric technology is the eyeball scan. Iris patterns are likewise unique to individuals, so this part of the body can serve as an identifier.
To do so, iris recognition technologies first use invisible infrared light to illuminate the eye. This illumination exposes the unique iris patterns that would not have otherwise been visible and isolates the iris. When only the iris is visible, this technology can focus on a variety of identifying features, including the color of the iris and its defining lines. This information is then stored in an iris database so that it can be used for future identifications.
Various benefits accompany this type of biometric security, four in particular.
Though some forms of identification are easy to falsify, the iris is not one of them. The iris scan is one of the most accurate of all forms of biometric identification—an iris scan will rarely provide either a false positive result or a false negative result, which gives individuals and organizations confidence that the results being shown are accurate and can be trusted.
The iris scan does not require any human contact to generate a result, a feature especially important in the present age of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, this type of identification does not require individuals to take off their masks, which is beneficial in areas where covers are needed. Scans can also be completed from the same physical distance as a typical picture, which helps encourage social distancing and ensure the safety of all involved in the identification process.
Though the physical appearance of the body can change significantly as individuals age, some parts of the body stay the same—namely, the iris. No matter how long it has been since an individual registered their iris in the iris database, they will be able to use this body part as an identifier. Accordingly, those who register their iris will not constantly worry about renewing their data in the system.
Because biometric technology is still relatively new, some forms may come with limitations, such as how much reach can this technology have. This is not the case for iris scans—though this technology is practical for small-scale operations, it can also be used on an grand scale. Some countries even utilize iris scans on a national level.
Despite the benefits that go along with the use of eyeball scans, disadvantages persist.
Compared to other biometric technologies, iris scanners are at the pricier end of the spectrum. It has been estimated that the cost to implement an iris scanning program is five times that of implementing a fingerprint scanning program. That is, these technologies come with a high startup cost and require a significant investment to be put into practice. For some smaller operations, this may not be possible—as such, these organizations may not be able to use this form of technology.
For an iris scanner to capture and scan the iris accurately, the person whose eye is being scanned must stand almost perfectly still. Some may struggle with this task. Even small actions, such as blinking the eyes, may prevent a retina scanner from doing its job correctly and prolongs the logging process. However, some other biometric technologies, such as facial recognition, do not require individuals to be still in this manner.
Drawbacks aside, the prevalence of eyeball biometrics is no doubt on the rise—the biometric industry was valued at about $23.5B in 2020, and experts see no sign of its stopping.
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