Biometric verification involves using the physical and behavioral traits of an individual to digitally identify them and grant them access to an account, data, or system.
Examples of biometric verification methods include fingerprint and retina scanners, facial recognition systems, voice or speech recognition, hand and vein pattern scans, etc. As these identifiers are unique to each individual, they are generally used in combination to enhance the security and accuracy of customer identity verification.
As biometric technology provides a high level of confidence in verifying an individual without compromising customer experience, it has the ability to dramatically enhance a business’s security. Devices can be unlocked automatically through fingerprint scans. Entrance doors can slide open once a trusted administrators’ face is detected through biometric security systems. Help desk systems can also automatically gather relevant information once an employee’s voice is recognized.
Methods of Biometric Identification
Biometric identifiers refer to human characteristics that are used for identifying an individual. These characteristics can be divided into two categories: physical and behavioral.
Physical identifiers are generally unalterable and depend on devices. Let’s take a look at a few examples:
Fingerprint scanners are gaining popularity due to their extensive use on smartphones. They are the most convenient type of biometrics and can be used on any device that can be physically touched. Their application includes:
- Phone screen locks
- Door entrances
- Social media site access
- Corporate server access
- Biometric time and attendance check
- Border and airport control
Based on a study by Spiceworks, the most common type of biometric verification in businesses is fingerprint scanning, where 57% of companies reported to have used the technology for various security purposes.
2. Photos or Videos
Any device that is equipped with a camera can be used for biometric authentication. Biometric facial recognition and iris scans are two prevalent approaches.
3. Physiological Recognition
Face biometrics is the second most common method of authentication, based on the same study by Spiceworks. Other similar verification techniques include hand geometry identification, iris or retina scanning, palm and vein pattern recognition, and ear print recognition.
Virtual assistants and telephone-based service providers have already employed voice and speech recognition for accurate identification and verification of customers through in-depth analysis of sound patterns. Once an individual’s voice is stored in a biometric database, a “template” of voiceprint is formed which is unique to each individual. This biometric template is encrypted and saved for future verification that may be required for customer onboarding or account access.
Online signature scanners are being widely used for retail store checkouts and in financial institutions such as banks, fintechs, insurance firms, brokerage companies, etc. As customers in such institutions are experienced with signing, this method of biometric verification is highly reliable and convenient.
DNA biometrics are primarily used by law enforcement agencies to identify suspicious individuals and wanted criminals. Similar to fingerprints, DNA samples can be left behind at crime scenes which allow forensic officers to identify the culprit. Another major advantage of DNA biometric is that links to unknown family relatives can be found.
Behavioral biometric authentication is a relatively new approach. Because of their lower reliability, they are used in combination with physical identifiers to make biometric verification results more credible. However, due to technological advancements, behavioral identifiers are likely to grow prominent in the upcoming years.
Some common approaches to behavioral biometrics include:
1. Typing Patterns
Every individual has a distinct typing style. Their typing speed, frequently made mistakes, manner, and rhythm of typing are all used to enhance the process of identity verification.
2. Physical Movements
Every individual’s walking speed and manner is unique to them and is therefore used for the purpose of identification. This method of biometric verification is commonly used in construction sites to authenticate employees entering a building, in corporate offices, or to add an extra layer of security in other sensitive locations.
3. Navigation Patterns
Mouse navigation actions and finger movements on touchpads or touch-sensitive input devices are also used for biometric authentication. This method is convenient due to its ability to detect unique behavioral patterns through AI-powered software.
4. Engagement Patterns
Every individual interacts with technology in unique ways. The way we open and use mobile applications, the sites we navigate through, the location we use our devices more from, the time we spend on each application, our average battery percentage before the device is charged again, and commonly used social media sites are all used in the process of behavioral authentication.
- Biometric verification utilizes the physical and behavioral characteristics of an individual for accurate identification
- Examples of physical identifiers include fingerprints, DNA, face biometrics, voice recognition, and digital signatures
- Examples of behavioral identifiers include physical movements and typing, navigation and engagement patterns