A Study On E Security Biometric Computer Science Essay

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Reliable Personal recognition techniques and the role of biometrics in security technology play a critical role in our everyday and social activities. For example, in access control, only authorized users should be allowed to enter a secured area with high accuracy while unauthorised users should be restricted to enter. On other hand in welfare benefit disbursement, it is utmost important thing to verify the identity of a person claiming the benefit to avoid the impersonation (double claim). Traditionally, there exist two categories of personal recognition approaches, token-based and knowledge-based (Miller, 1994).

Token Based & Knowledge Based:

A token-based approach verifies the identity of a person according to what he/she has. For example, possession of keys or ID cards that may be treated as authorised identity to receive the associated service. On other hand the knowledge-based approach authenticates the identity of an individual based on what he/she knows. For example, an individual with secret knowledge, such as a preset password and answers to questions to receive the associated service.

These traditional approaches have some limitations such as in token-based approach "a token could be stolen or lost", whereas in knowledge-based approach, the "secret knowledge could be guessed, shared or forgotten". Both approaches and underlying techniques are still in use. For example, access to public library in London to borrow the books (Just need an ID card and no need of any photo verification), Telephone banking (possession of Bank card and a guess of secret questions). More over telephone banking is almost safer nowadays compared to olden days.

"One of the emerging personal recognition technologies is biometric recognition. This technology is developed to overcome the limitations of traditional personal recognition approaches" (Wayman, 2005; Bolle, 2004). The term biometrics, which comes from the Greek words bios (life) and metrikos (measures), refers to a number of technologies to authenticate persons using their physical traits such as finger prints, iris, retina, speech, face and palm print or behaviour traits such as gait, handwritten signature and key strokes. In other words, a biometric recognition simply recognizes the identity of a person based on who he/she is.

When compared with the traditional approaches and methods, biometric identifiers can not be easily forged, forgotten, shared, or lost, and thus this approach and underlying technology can provide better security, higher efficiency, and increased user convenience.

Biometric recognition lays the foundation for an extensive array of highly secure authentication and reliable personal verification solutions. The first commercial biometric system, IDENTIMAT, was developed in 1970's, as a part of an employee time clock at Shearson Hamill, a Wall Street investment firm (Miller, 1994). This system measured the shape of the hand and the length of the fingers. At the same time, fingerprint-based automatic personal authentication systems were widely used in law enforcement by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and by US government departments. Subsequently,

"Advances in hardware such as faster processing power and greater memory capacity made biometrics more feasible and effective. Since the 1990s, iris, retina, face, voice, palm print, signature and DNA technologies have joined the biometric family" (Jain et al., 1999a; Zhang, 2000).

With increasing demand for automatic solutions that are reliable to security systems, biometric recognition become widely used and deployed in many government, commercial and even in forensic applications. After September 11 terror attacks, an interest in use of biometric-based security solutions and applications is increased, especially in the need to identify an individual in crowds. Few airlines have implemented iris recognition technology in airplane control rooms to prevent any entry by unauthorized persons.

"During 2004, all Australian international airports implemented passports using face recognition technology for airline crews and this will eventually became available to all Australian passport holders" Debnath Bhattacharyya et al, (2009).

Several governments are now using or will soon be using biometric recognition technology. The United Kingdom border agency implemented IRIS system in all major airports to control immigration and to save passenger immigration checking time. The UK government included the biometric process in Nationality, Immigration and asylum act 2002 PHYSICAL DATA: Voluntary provisions.

Debnath Bhattacharyya et al, (2009), vascular pattern analysis towards pervasive palm vein authentication. Journal of Universal Computer Science, vol. 15, no. 5 (2009), 1081-1089 submitted: 1/8/09, accepted: 28/2/09, appeared: 1/3/09 © J.UCS

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/managingourborders/eborders/irisdownloads/schemedefinitiondocument.pdf [accessed on 31 March 2010]

Even it is mandatory for immigrants those who reside in UK. For example, issue an ICFN card (identity card for foreign nationals) for the international students. (Website) The U.S. INSPASS immigration card and the Hong Kong ID card, for example, both store biometric features for reliable and convenient personal authentication. Debnath Bhattacharyya et al, (2009)

Speaking in general, any situation that allows an interaction between machine and human should be capable of incorporating biometrics. This type of situations may fall into a wide range of application areas. Currently biometrics are used in areas such as banking, immigration, law enforcement, telecommunication networks, law enforcement, computer desktops and laptops, computer networks (under network security policy) and in most of the offices to monitor the time and attendance of staff, even in some educational institutions to record student attendance. Most of the governments across the globe are involved in using and developing biometric systems. Some of the usage of biometric systems by government in national identity schemes, electoral registration, and benefit entitlement programs involve the management of millions of people and are rapidly adopting biometric solutions.

At present fraud is an increasing problem and security is a must and should necessary in many areas of life. To control the fraud it is more important to incorporate the biometric systems and use in day to day life.

Biometric applications:

Biometric applications can be simply categorized as follows (Zhang, 2000):

  • LAW enforcement

  • Banking

  • Computer systems (Logical access control)

  • Physical access

  • Benefit systems

  • Immigration

  • National identity

  • Telephone systems

  • Time attendance and monitoring

Few Tools used in Biometrics:

  • Credit card fingerprint scanner.

  • Contactless Palm-vein imager.

  • Mouse embedded palm-vein scanner.

  • Cardio signature reader.

  • Laptop facial recognition

  • Biometric time card systems.

  • Biometric flash drives, portable hard drives, portable hard drives, and stuff.

Biometric Recognition Technologies:

Specifically, a biometric system can be referred as a pattern recognition system, in which a feature set is primarily extracted from the acquired data, after it is compared with the stored data sets to make a decision on the identity of an individual. It can be operated in TWO modes, verification and identification. In verification mode, the decision is "who he/she claims to be?" in identification mode, the decision is "whose biometric data is this?" thus a biometric system is formalised into a 2-class or multiclass pattern recognition system.

Biometric system includes 4 major modules: data acquisition, feature extraction, matching the features, and system database (Jain, Ross, & prabhakar, 2004). The Table 1 below describes this four modules information.

Module Name

Purpose and operation

Data Acquisition

In this module, the biometric data of a person is acquired by making use of a sensor to capture.

Feature Extraction

In this module, the acquired data is processed to extract a set of discriminative features.


In this module, the features are compared with the stored template set to make a decision on the identity of a person.

System database module

In this module, a database is built and maintained to store the biometric templates of the enrolled users.

Problems in biometric recognition research:

In biometric recognition research, there exist two major problems with the modules feature extraction and matching. These modules considered as problematic and most of the researchers have been attracted from different backgrounds. Below are some of the backgrounds that researches possess.

  • Biometrics

  • Pattern recognition

  • Computer vision

  • Neural networks

  • Signal processing.

It is acceptable statement that sensor technology is more advanced now, and increasing demand in the field of biometric systems development caused the progress on developing novel acquisition sensors and biometric technologies. Offline ink-technique being used in 1980's to acquire the fingerprints of a person. Nowadays the advancements in technology made improvements in designing of fingerprint acquisition using live-scan sensors for example: ultrasound, optical, solid-state.

The research on the issues of the above methods has drawn a considerable attention, and these issues have been studied over a couple of decades since 1980's. And there exists some limitations to the existing applications. For example in fingerprint technology, some people are born with unclear fingerprints and some people have lost or worn-away their fingerprints due to the hard work they do in their daily life. Other recognition systems like face based and voice based are vulnerable and prone to attack using a mimic. Research efforts have been geared towards improving the present identification methods and continue, on other hand a new research for investigating the other biometric technologies have grown.

"Currently, the major biometric technologies involve Face, Fingerprint, Iris, Palm print, Signature, and Voice recognition, as well as Multi-biometric recognition technologies" (Zhang, 2002).

The following provides a brief introduction of the biometric trait IRIS:

Iris: The patterns of the iris, the coloured area that surrounds the pupil, are thought to be unique. Iris patterns can be obtained through a video-based image acquisition system. Iris scanning devices have been used in personal authentication applications. It has been demonstrated that iris-based biometric system can work with individuals without regard to ethnicity or nationality.

John Daugman is the inventor of the 'Iris code' the de facto iris recognition algorithm is now being used in all publicly deployed iris recognition systems in the world. Today Iris systems are used mainly in two ways:

  • To identify a person identity by using a search method, in this search method a detailed search of database is carried out to find the identity of a person with enrolled IRIS patterns. For example: to eliminate passport presentation,

  • To compare watch-list screenings where a security database of 'undesired' identities is registered.

In both cases a robust technology is needed against false matches, since it is a fact that a large database may contains and provide the opportunity for false match during the search. In both modes, the user does not declare any identity, some weaker biometrics are used for single comparison, assertion-verification mode. The output for an identification mode will be the person's name if they are matched with the database entries. And for the watch-list mode, the output will be a statement revealing the match found in watch-list identity database.

The main advantage of Iris technology here in two modes described above is:

  • The robustness in comparing the other biometric features

  • Eliminate the show-passport procedure at airports or border-crossing points.

IRIS recognition systems are being deployed at most of the international airports or port of entries at many countries as border-crossing applications. Example applications include,

  • The UK's Iris recognition system (IRIS) project (used as a substitute for passport identification)

  • The UAE Iris recognition system to screen all individuals who wants to enter the country through a formal entry VISA process, against the watch-list database entries.

According to a report 10-billion watch-list comparisons are performed at UAE border crossing each day.

Till now, more than 60 million IRIS identities have been enrolled in Iris recognition systems in the world. In a post 9/11 Anglo-American context, the biometric technology has been concerned as a key tool for security of the state.

  • In the United States of America, many arguments focussed on the use of biometric technology to fight against terrorism.

  • In the United Kingdom, the biometric technology is treated as a technological advancement that will be helpful to delimit most of the social problems such as identity fraud or theft, terror, benefit fraud, organised crime.

The technologies now entered into a socio-political arena, in which a debate continues on the application, use, and efficacy of the biometric technology. This technology has focussed on the probable tension between the essentiality for state security and the privacy and liberty rights of an individual. In USA, the debate is related to the border security program US-Visit; in UK it has come to support the proposed scheme to introduce the biometric identity cards. Since 2009 it has been implemented in UK to issue Biometric identity cards for foreign nationals. The ICFN is an example for this.

Automatic identification using Iris recognition:

Automatic identification of persons by iris recognition system is based on the variations in the iris of an eye, every person have different variations patterns in their eye that can be seen in the iris of the eye. These patterns are very complex in nature; the combination of complexity and the randomness across the population consult together a mathematical uniqueness to an iris pattern. One example mathematical algorithm is 'IrisCode', which is deployed in various international airports and all other public deployments. This mathematical algorithm used to extract the random pattern to a digital signature that can be served as a biological identifier.

These patterns can not be separated from an individual; by using a specialised camera at a distance of several meters these patterns can be captured without contact to a person's eye. An example of this type of application is an Iris recognition system in airports eliminating the show passport procedure. The cameras here in recognition system should be able to confirm that real iris patterns are imaged not the photographs.


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