What are the Pros and Cons of Biometric Authentication Technology?

As data breaches happen with more regularity each year and companies lose more money as a result it is becoming clear that protecting your sensitive data with only a password is no longer sufficient.

One of the biggest problems when it comes to the authentication process is determining if the person is really who they say they are. This is something that a simple username and password can't do as, in theory (and often in practice) someone else can obtain these credentials and the system would be none the wiser.

Enter biometric authentication. By using the physical characteristics of an individual, such as their fingerprint, iris, face, voice, etc, a system can determine if the person trying to access it is really who they say and based on that grant them or deny them access.

Of course, biometric authentication systems have a lot of positive characteristics, but also some negative, and in this article, we'll explore what types of biometric authentication are out there and what are the pros and cons of different biometric authentication methods that can be used in multi-factor authentication.

Biometric Systems and Their Pros and Cons

Biometrics are getting more and more popular as a part of the authentication and security process. According to studies, 63% of companies either already have or are planning to add a biometric system.

Now, if you're planning to do the same in your organization, it's a good idea to know what different types of biometric technology are out there and what are their pros and cons, so let's dive in:

Fingerprint Reader

Fingerprint Reader

Fingerprints are probably the oldest biometric authentication method out there having been first used in 1858 by British Administration in India. Meanwhile, fingerprint scanning has evolved incredibly and today automated fingerprint identification system can come in three types:

While fingerprints have been used for decades to determine an individual's identity and have their clear advantages, there are also disadvantages to keep in mind:

Pros:

Cons:

Facial Recognition

Facial Recognition

We use face recognition almost every day to recall if we know a certain individual and this is done subconsciously in our brain. Of course, the human brain can make errors (we can, for example, mistake one person for someone completely different because they look similar).

This can lead to some embracing situations, but also some more serious ones and facial recognition software generally turns out to be much better at identifying people, even in a crowd.

When it comes to the pros and cons of facial recognition, there are several on both sides:

Pros:

Cons:

Voice Recognition

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition technology comes in two types:

  1. Dependent, meaning the recognition of voice spoken by a particular individual, and
  2. Independent, or the recognition of voice without regard as to who the speaker is

When it comes to the pros and cons of voice recognition, they are as follows:

Pros:

Cons:

Iris and Retina Scanner

Iris and Retina Scanner

Although iris and retina scanners both use ocular-based biometric identification, there are still considerable differences between them.

Iris recognition uses an infra-red light to capture the image of an iris and then the software converts that image into a pattern to identify an individual

On the other hand, a retina scan maps out the person's retina using a low-energy infra-red light at close proximity. As the light goes through the eye, it creates a pattern that gets converted into a code and stored in a database.

Both iris and retina scanning have their pros and cons. These include:

Pros:

Cons:

Conclusion

Biometric authentication relies on the person's unique physical characteristics, whether that's their fingerprint, voice, facial pattern, iris, retina or something else like DNA matching, finger and hand geometry, or typing recognition.

The idea here is that, unlike a password, you can't copy someone's biometric features. However, we can't look at the biometric authentication technology and methods as infallible as they can also be tricked.

The biggest threat, however, lies in exactly in the fact that biometric data is unchangeable. If a hacker somehow gets your password, that's easy to replace. How do you replace your fingerprint?

One of the main concerns when it comes to biometric authentication is the impact it has on user's privacy. With CTemplar email service, you don't have this problem as it is completely anonymous and doesn't require any verification to sign up. Sign up today and see for yourself!