Biometrics is essentially a method of identifying individuals through their physiological or behavioral patterns. Biometrics offer higher security levels by simply ensuring that only the authorized people have access to sensitive data. The most commonly used physiological biometrics include fingerprint, face, iris, and hand geometry recognition along with behavioral biometrics that include voice verification, signature verification, and keystroke dynamics.
Strategic Assessment of Behavioral Biometric Technologies
Voice Verification: One of the most advanced biometric systems is based on the unique geometry of the speaker's vocal tract, including vocal tract length, ratio of larynx to sinuses cadence, pitch, tone, frequency, range, and duration of voice. The system verifies the individual's identity by comparing the live voice to the digitally stored voice samples. One of the key advantages of voice verification is that it does not require any specific hardware. Only a computer is required to run the voice verification software, besides voice filters, a microphone, and an analog–to-digital converter for the conversion of the input voice into a digital signal. As it can be integrated with the existing hardware, it is easy to implement and requires minimum initial investments. When compared with other biometrics, voice biometrics is a nonintrusive technology that does not require the physical presence of an individual. This is helping it to gain popularity, and it has been successfully deployed in financial institutions. As a result, end user confidence in banking facilities has increased because of these technologies that aide in secure transactions. Moreover, due to the benefits achieved customer service is also enhanced, augmenting customer retention.
The demand for voice verification technology not only has increased in the financial space but has also risen in call centers to control financial loss through credit card and debit card fraudulence. The integration with speech technology allows for enhanced security by applying two-factor authentication such as "something you are" and "something you know". This allows for a higher level of security, resulting in a higher adoption rate of combined voice biometric and speech recognition solutions. Voice verification technology is being considered as a possible alternative for security purpose by several government and corporate enterprises. Another industry that is likely to benefit from this technology is gaming. At present, voice systems are limited to one-to-one verification; however, in the future, according to demand levels, they should be able to offer 1:N matching for identification applications. Two-factor identification involving the use of two or more biometric technologies will prove to be the latest emerging technology trend.
Dynamic Signature Verification (DSV): It is also known as signature verification biometrics and it identifies a person by his/her unique behavioral characteristics such as speed, pen pressure, direction, and stroke length when an individual inputs the signature. It is a one-to-one verification technology and the system either accepts or rejects the claim by comparing the stored biometric template with the live one. Wider deployment of DSV technologies is expected in the financial, government and health care sectors in the short to medium term. A key driver is large-scale government-funded projects that are focused on moving toward a paperless office environment. Deployment of credible reference sites in these sectors would be an added advantage to increase awareness and acceptability. For example, successful deployments of DSV technology for workflow automation processes in North America are expected to have a positive impact globally such as in the Asia Pacific region and Europe.
Historically, the adoption of DSV was concentrated in the financial vertical. The predominant application has been authenticating electronic transactions. Moreover, it has been used to secure transactions, check fraud, and reduce administration costs. However, since 2004, there has been an acceptance of this technology in the government and health care verticals. The DSV market is expected to witness a significant increase in revenues by 2014 due to its acceptability and user-friendliness. It has taken an affirmative position in the health care and government sectors due to substantial cost savings and fraud prevention. It is anticipated that in future DSV is likely to gain immense popularity due to its compatibility with financial and legal transactions, document signing, and even at point-of-sale terminals.
Keystroke Dynamics: It identifies an individual by his/her ubiquitous typing rhythm. Thus, authentications are based on total time taken for text entry and verifying the time between keystrokes. A reference template is created and stored in the database by typing the password several times to calculate the average latency between keystrokes. This template is then compared with the currently entered information to verify identity. One of the key advantages of keystroke dynamics is that it does not require any additional hardware apart from the existing keyboard. This reduces the overall cost of the system, making it one of the cheapest biometric technologies. The technology's user-friendliness has been one of the driving forces for its adoption. Since passwords are vulnerable to theft, huge losses are being incurred in financial, health care, and government organizations. Thus, it is targeting computer-based organizations where users are accustomed to using keyboards on a regular basis.
To curb fraudulent activities, keystroke dynamics is anticipated to become a viable option in the medium and long terms. In addition, remote authentication and the non-intrusiveness of the technology are driving demand by the end users. Users can access their secured information from anywhere in the world, without having a fear of their passwords being stolen or lost. E-commerce, financial, and health care organizations are some of the early adopters of this technology. However, in the medium and long terms, with the growing need to curb fraudulent activities, legal, manufacturing, and local and state governments are anticipated to make significant contributions to generate higher revenues.