Ultimate computer security devices

Wednesday, 5 June 2002, 11:37 AM EST

Biometrics have long been the basis of the ultimate security technologies in science fiction - but can these safeguards, which rely on fingerprints, eyeballs and other personal traits to authenticate users, really secure the enterprise?

Recent reports of simple ways to circumvent biometric security systems - such as the "gummy finger" tactic, which involves a homemade gelatin mold on which a fingerprint is imprinted -- have been embarrassing for the biometrics industry.

However, analysts said such breaches will force vendors to improve their technology, which often is used to restrict access to companies' most valuable data.

Analysts also stressed the need for layers of security, noting that no security measure can be effective on its own. Indeed, biometric security vendors typically market their products as part of a mix.

According to experts, when combined with other security measures, biometrics can pave the way for adoption of safeguards that often are resisted by corporations.

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