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Graphics and security: exploring visual biometrics

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Biometrics technology has come a long way from simpler forms of systems security. But are biometrics-based systems more secure or do they simply require crackers to become more proficient at breaking into systems? To recognize your fingerprint requires that a template of your fingerprint actually be present in the system that verifies your access. If you want to pass as somebody else, presumably you'd have to either have that person's finger with you or you'd need to change the verifying template residing in the system that verifies your print. Cracking into a system and replacing a legitimate print with your own isn't easy to do unless the system's security is poor. While biometric proponents stress the strength of their proprietary technologies or biometrics in general, no system is ever completely secure. Contrary to what many biometric proponents would have us believe-that biometric security outclasses traditional forms of security-all biometric systems are, after all, another form of computer security with its own set of strengths and weaknesses. Biometrics effectively trade some amount of privacy and cost effectiveness for ultimate convenience-and these systems are certainly no less secure than standard password systems. Password systems are cheap. Complex biometric scanning equipment is usually expensive. But biometrics seems to be where the industry is headed.

Published in:

IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 4 )