Retinal scans use infrared light to survey the unique pattern of blood vessels of the retina, which is the nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye.There is little chance that retinal patterns can be replicated or forged. Retinal scans are therefore considered to be among the least violable of biometric security measures. (Fingerprints, by comparison, are relatively easy to forge.)
Nevertheless, retinal scanners are not at present good candidates for widespread use. First they are expensive. Second, in order to work, users must permit light beams to be shone directly into their eyes for 10 to 15 seconds. The sensation is unpleasant and intrusive enough to make widespread acceptance among the general public unlikely. Additionally, diseases such as cataracts can cause the retina to change over time.
Iris scans examine the colored tissue surrounding the eye\’s pupil. Unlike more invasive retinal scans, iris scans can be carried out by regular video cameras as far as two feet away from the eye. They can also be carried out on people wearing glasses.
Patented in late 1980s, iris scans\’ first use was to identify prisoners in a Pennsylvania prison. They have begun to be instituted to identify \”the good guys\” at international airports, where frequently flying passengers are allowed to use iris scanning technology to move more quickly through security checkpoints. Charlotte/Douglas International Airport in North Carolina; the Flughafen Frankfurth Airport in Germany; and London\’s Heathrow airport, among others, use iris scanning technology for this purpose.
Iris scanning technology is far from foolproof however. Scanners have been fooled by users placing photographs of irises over their own eyes (with holes cut out for their own pupils).
In 2005, Rep. Robert Andrews (D-NJ) introduced the Iris Security Scan Security Act of 2005, intended to give States grants to use iris scan records of convicted criminals for various purposes. On February 6, 2006, the bill was referred to the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, suggesting that the bill may be expanded to achieve homeland security or anti-terrorism objectives.
Fingerprint readers, or scanners, are the most popular and most common form of biometric security devices used. Biometrics consists of automated methods of recognizing a person based on unique physical characteristic. Each type of biometric system, while different in application, contains at least one similarity: the biometric must be based upon a distinguishable human attribute such as a person\’s fingerprint, iris, voice pattern or even facial pattern.
Today fingerprint devices are by far the most popular form of biometric security used, with a variety of systems on the market intended for general and mass market usage. Long gone are the huge bulky fingerprint scanners; now a fingerprint scanning device can be small enough to be incorporated into a laptop for security.
A fingerprint is made up of a pattern of ridges and furrows as well as characteristics that occur at Minutiae points (ridge bifurcation or a ridge ending).
Fingerprint scanning essentially provides an identification of a person based on the acquisition and recognition of those unique patterns and ridges in a fingerprint.
The actual fingerprint identification process will change slightly between products and systems. The basis of identification, however, is nearly the same. Standard systems are comprised of a sensor for scanning a fingerprint and a processor which stores the fingerprint database and software which compares and matches the fingerprint to the predefined database. Within the database, a fingerprint is usually matched to a reference number, or PIN number which is then matched to a person\’s name or account. In instances of security the match is generally used to allow or disallow access, but today this can also be used for something as simple as a time clock or payroll access.
In large government organizations and corporations, biometrics plays a huge role in employee identification and security. Additionally some data centers have jumped on the bandwagon and have implemented biometric scanners to enhances remote access and management by adding another layer of network security for system administrators. Unfortunately the cost of implementing fingerprint and other biometric security scanning in data centers is still quite expensive, and many centers still rely on ID badges while waiting until biometric technology becomes a little more pocket-book friendly.
Today companies have realized that fingerprint scanning is an effective means of security. While the cost of implementing biometric scanners in larger organizations and data centers is still quite costly, we did find several fingerprint scanning devices which would fit into the budget of many small offices and home users. These home and small office products are designed to protect your hard drive, notebook or even to remove the need for users to remember multiple passwords.