For access control, biometrics is seen by many as an attractive alternative to the old password-based system. Using a password is insecure, as they can easily be forgotten or stolen. They have nothing to do with identity. Biometrics, on the other hand, uses the physical or behavioral uniqueness of an individual for identification and can therefore not be stolen. There are many forms of biometric system available – each using a different characteristic of the individual for recognition. These characteristics would include retina scanning, face geometry or even voice prints. This essay will explore the use of fingerprints as a biometric security measure. Fingerprints are the most widely used biometric (http://www.biometrics.co.za/tech_Economist.htm). They have the advantage of being cheaper and simpler than most other biometrics. Modern fingerprint readers are very small and it’s also simple to implement since a fingerprint-reader can sit on a mouse or keyboard, or simply connect like one. A fingerprint is made up of ridges that take the shape of loops, arches, and whorls. Instead of scanning each ridge, fingerprint-based biometrics look for minutiae (small lines on the surface of the skin). An algorithm extracts minutiae points from an image and then creates a template. Fingerprints are also extremely reliable in the sense that each individual has a unique print. Probability theory suggests that the chance of two fingers having exactly the same arrangement is more than a billion to one. (www.mckinnonsc.vic.edu.au/la/it/ipmnotes/biometrics/biobasics.htm) There are 2 basic types of fingerprint scanning: silicon and optical, but there is a third emerging technology worth mentioning. Ultra-Scan has developed a way of using ultrasound to detect the ridges and furrows on the finger. Chile is using this technology in its healthcare system to identify patients. (http://www.mckinnonsc.vic.edu.au/la/it/ipmnotes/biometrics/biobasics.htm) Fi…
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