Importance of biometrics to business

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Wilson, Patrick
Issue Date
BA of Business
Dublin Business School
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Biometrics is a method of providing authentication through measurable physical characteristics. It uses characteristics of the body as a method to code or scramble/descramble data. Physical characteristics such as fingerprints, retinas and irises, palm prints, handwritten signature, wrist veins, facial structure, and voice recognition are just some of the many methods of biometric encryption in use today. Since these characteristics are unique to each individual, biometrics are seen as the answer to combat theft and fraud, particularly when dealing with commerce over the Internet. The reason that this new technology is believed to be superior to the use of passwords or personal identification numbers (PINs) is that a biometric trait cannot be lost, stolen, or recreated, at least not easily. It is based on the concept that 'you are your own password'. Soon, this kind of request may become a daily reality. Today, so many transactions and exchanges happen electronically, it is necessary to prove to a machine that you are who you claim to be. The current options are not the best way to protect private information. People loose cards, forget passwords, or write PIN numbers on a piece of paper for everyone to see. The way to keep information secure is to offer up a piece of yourself- a biometric identifier- to be recorded and used to verify your identity. Biometric identifiers are physiological and behavioral characteristics that are completely unique to you (your fingerprint, hand shape, etc.) Many companies believe that passwords are already passe, and biometrics is the next wave of network security. They also believe that if the Internet is ever to become a truly secure way to shop using sensitive data, it will take more than just passwords to protect information. It is from this logic that we now see many new biometric security companies emerging that specialise in technologies for the Internet. They hope to be the next Baltimore Technologies of the Internet. Microsoft Corporation Chairman Bill Gates, cited on-line privacy problems as a "key pitfall of a wired world", and said biometrics offered a "promising solution".