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Intended Audience: all engineers


Biometric Identification Security: What You Need to Know

Uncover the history, development and practical application of state-of-the-art security systems using biometric identification in this PDH engineering course.

ID systems that combine access control card readers with biometric identification have proliferated in the last five years at a range of different types of facility entrances today. There are also many odd ID systems that may seem impractical today but are likely to become the standard biometric identifiers in the near future.

This course is the final course in our 4-part training on cutting-edge (and time-tested) security practices and engineering concepts. The material presented in this PDH course evaluates and describes almost every biometric identification device currently available, including technology that can identify personalized keyboard patterns, body odor, ear canal reverberations and walking gaits. DNA could probably be the ultimate concept and the most accurate system but asking for cheek swabs is too intrusive and processing takes too much time for practical use as component of a door control system.

Card readers may make the system more secure than a conventional key would, but they can only assume the identity of the user. They cannot authenticate the user, which is a serious shortcoming in areas where higher security is required because they can be easily compromised. The only way to authenticate a user is to upgrade the access control system to include electronic-based biometrics identification devices, which use stored data of unique human characteristics and acquired traits.

Biometric Identification Devices

  • Physical: Among the physical biometric identification readers described are: retina scanning, iris scanning, fingerprint identifiers, DNA profiles, hand geometry, handwriting patterns, facial recognition, and key stoke patterns. Biometric sensors and recorders can be defined by their authentication features, which offers a far superior method of identifying someone since they involve some biometric proof that the person attempting entry is not an imposter. Biometrics come in various forms and fall into two principle categories:
  • Physiological: The physiological features and behavior of biometric identification devices are outlines. This includes the data derived from the direct measurement of a part of the human body with generally unchanging characteristics. An injury, such as a cut on a finger, would not affect the end user’s validation. Although, as with any application, there are exceptions, including the loss of a body part like an eye or a severely burned hand. Fingerprints, iris scans, hand geometry, and facial recognition are leading physiological biometrics.
  • Behavioral: Refers to access control systems that incorporate algorithms that vary on how the end user utilizes the application. They are based on actions taken by an individual and comprise such things as keystroke-scan, signature-scan, and voice pattern recognition. These so-called performance tasks also include walking, which can be observed and stored by biometric devices in a database that can be used for future comparison. If the end user’s action is different each time an attempt is made to authenticate a biometric characteristic, the attempts to gain entry will be restricted or denied.

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this course, you’ll be able to:

  • Discuss how biometric verification systems link individual identification and access.
  • Identify the different physical, physiological and behavioral biometric identification technologies as well as the advantage and disadvantages of each.
  • Distinguish the differences between identification and authentication and why the latter is a far more superior method of identifying someone using biometrics.
  • Understand where biometric identification devices are being used and the scope of their practical applications and privacy considerations.

Full Series – Security Practices & Engineering Concepts

This is the second part of our 4-session Security Practices & Engineering Concepts course series examining the evolution, principles and applications of leading-edge security systems. This 4-course series includes:

  1. Motion Detection Technology: How It Works
  2. Locking Arrangements & Code Compliance For Engineers
  3. Customizing Security Design
  4. Biometric Identification Features & Principles for Engineers

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