Creator of Knowledge
Information Resources Management Association
Advancing the Concepts & Practices of Information Resources Management in Modern Organizations

Biometric Authentication

Biometric Authentication
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Author(s): Julien Mahier (ENSICAEN, France), Marc Pasquet (GREYC Laboratory (ENSICAEN – Université Caen Basse Normandie - CNRS), France), Christophe Rosenberger (GREYC Laboratory (ENSICAEN – Université Caen Basse Normandie - CNRS), France)and Félix Cuozzo (ENSICAEN, France)
Copyright: 2009
Pages: 9
Source title: Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, Second Edition
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Mehdi Khosrow-Pour, D.B.A. (Information Resources Management Association, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-026-4.ch059


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For ages, humans recognized themselves according to different characteristics (appearance, behavior…). Biometrics is a well known technique to identify an individual or verify its identity; as, for example, fingerprints have been used for more than 100 years to identify one criminal. With computers, this analysis can be realized very quickly and with a higher reliability. Biometrics has many applications: site monitoring (Bird, Masoud, Papanikolopoulos, & Isaacs, 2005), e-commerce (Jain & Pankanti, 2006)… The main benefits of biometrics are to provide better security and to facilitate the authentication process for a user. For example, it can be easy to obtain the password of a user, but it is more difficult to look like the user if a face recognition system is used for the user verification. Biometrics can also provide many advantages for particular applications. Indeed, biometric authentication can be realized in a contactless way that could be important for cultural aspects or reasons of hygiene. For all these motivations, biometrics is an emergent technology that could be more present in our daily life. The goal of this chapter is to make an overview of biometrics. We focus on the authentication process, whose goal is to verify the identity of an individual. Ideal biometric information must have multiple properties: • Universality: all individuals must be characterized by this information; • Uniqueness: this information must as dissimilar as possible for two different persons; • Permanency: it should be present during the whole life of an individual; • Collectability: it can be measured (in a easy way); • Acceptability: it concerns the possibility of a real use by users. The plan of this chapter is given below. The background part presents the different biometric modalities studied in the research labs and used in real conditions. The main thrust of this chapter is an analysis of the benefits and limitations of biometric authentication. We present also the general architecture of a biometric system. Future trends stress the different research topics that should be treated to improve the biometric authentication. It concerns the combination of different biometric systems and their performance evaluation. We conclude by resuming the main aspects of this domain.

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