Beyond biometrics: new strategies for security

Friday, 12 September 2003, 11:29 AM EST

Biometric security devices -- which authenticate a person's identity on the basis of physical characteristics, such as a fingerprint -- have been available in one form or another for 30 years. But biometrics technology for computer security and user authentication might never achieve widespread use, analysts told TechNewsWorld, because of the predominant perception that it is costly, inconvenient and intrusive.

Older authentication techniques -- such as keystroke pattern recognition -- could easily be replaced by a combination of new biometrics technologies, such as voice-recognition software, signature-verification systems and iris scanners.

But these newer technologies have not been well accepted because the security industry has not defused misconceptions about the need for and reliability of biometric security, said Jeffrey Z. Johnson, vice president at consulting firm AMS.

According to Roy Want, principal engineer at Intel Research, the biggest problem with biometric devices is the inconvenience factor. "Biometric security needs to be transparent," he told TechNewsWorld. "It isn't yet."

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