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Biometric Authentication

This presentation is part of the Authentication Overview Self-Study Course.


Biometric authentication uses some characteristic of a person to prove their identity, such as their finger prints, the detail-rich intricate structures of a person’s iris, or the blood vessel patterns of their retina.  While suitable in limited application, biometric solutions may become unacceptably slow and comparatively expensive when a large number of users are involved.

Fooling a biometric system is surprisingly easy.  You can take a copy of a fingerprint with play dough and use it on the fingerprint scanner.  Biometric authentication is extremely vulnerable to replay attacks: once the information is compromised, it can easily be replayed unless the reader is completely secure and guarded.  If the biometric information has been compromised, there is no way to change it like you would a password.

And lastly, the owners of biometrically secured items may be in danger.  The value of the owner's finger is definitely greater than the value of the Mercedes it protects, at least to the individual whose finger it is.

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