Everyone finds having to remember passwords to gain access to devices and e-mail accounts burdensome. As recently as a decade ago, biometrics was still an area of high-tech research. People could not have imagined that in the future of biometric technology, they would be able to unlock their smartphones just with their faces. It would have felt like a plot from a science fiction film. However, such biometric technologies are now ubiquitous and commonplace.

What is Biometrics?

Biometrics is the use of physical attributes of people to verify their identity for authentication and verification. For example, when an individual uses a fingerprint scanner to check in at work, the scanner uses stored fingerprint information to verify the person’s identity. 

The Growth of Biometrics

The rising adoption of biometrics is driven by its reliability since an individual’s physical attributes are difficult to falsify compared to passwords and PINs. The ready availability of the technology, its increasing adoption, and enhanced security have made biometrics an integral part of current cybersecurity frameworks. Verdict reported that the use of facial recognition for secure payments is expected to double by 2025. 

The profusion of biometric scanners, supporting software, and AI and ML tech, including deep learning technologies, have given rise to multiple biometrics, including:

  • Fingerprints – Unique for each individual and often used as the basic mode for verifying identity. Case in point: fingerprint verification for life certification of pensioners.
  • Iris Signature – The Iris’ features too are unique and modern scanners can be used for identity verifications using Iris’ uniqueness in each individual. For example, iris recognition is used for identity verification before allowing entry into data centers.
  • Facial recognition – Facial features, eyes, nose, ears, etc., are scanned for identity verification. The recent introduction of facial recognition, for automated check-in, at some airports in India is an example of the growth of biometrics for everyday applications.    
  • Voice – Voice recognition was initially a relatively weaker means for identity verification as it was susceptible to spoofing. However, recent developments in AI technologies have made voice recognition viable as a secure means of identity verification. For example, banks are increasingly using voice biometrics. Like in facial recognition, an individual can use voice to log in to their account. 
  • Handwriting – Handwriting recognition forms a part of behavioral biometrics. Although vulnerable to forgers, it still finds some application in identity verification. Case in point: handwriting recognition is used in banking to verify identity and check forgery in cheques.
  • Vascular Recognition – This biometrics uses IR light to identify vein patterns on the body and use that for identity verification. Example – again, similar to fingerprint verification, the vein patterns in hand are used to establish identity.

Biometrics – The Challenges

There has been rapid growth in the adoption of biometric technologies. Simultaneously, expectedly, there has also been a spurt in the threats and challenges to this technology. Some of these challenges include:

  • Spoofing. Image-based biometrics are inherently susceptible to spoofs that can fool systems such as facial scanners. Although AI technologies are helping counter these challenges, even iris patterns have been spoofed under test conditions. 
  • Deepfakes. A deep fake is a video that has been altered to look real. Such fake videos use voice spoofing and video editing to create videos showing an individual saying something offensive or illegal. Deepfakes have caused social disturbances and have been used to fool facial recognition systems. 
  • Ethical Issues. Modern biometric systems collect significant amounts of user information in the process of identity verification. The secure storage and authorized use of this information present several ethical concerns for regulators. 

The Future of Biometric Technology

Authentication and identity verification systems like HyperVerge increasingly use biometric technologies for consumer and enterprise applications. A TMR study predicts that the biometrics market will grow to $136.18 billion by 2031. Some likely trends in the future of biometric technology for authentication include:

  • Verification of Physical Identity. AI-powered biometrics will likely drive reliable real-time identity verification using cameras installed on-premise. This will be especially true for facial and behavioral biometrics, which include gait, accent, and voice recognition. 
  • Use of Newer Identity Markers. In addition to the already mature biometric identity verification systems, systems that use more secure biometric markers such as odor recognition, heartbeat pattern recognition, DNA signature, and hand geometry are being developed. These biometric markers will come to be used for high-security applications in the future of biometric technology. A poll conducted by Ericsson and reported in We Live Security found considerable enthusiasm among people for newer forms of biometrics. 
  • Identity Proofing. The greatest advantage of biometric authentication is the requirement for the person to be physically available for biometric data. Stronger measures, such as AI-powered video identity verification, will mandate the use of ‘liveness’ testing to guard against identity theft. 
  • Ongoing Authentication. Typically, identity verification is done only once – at login. It might happen again whenever a user accesses other resources. Ongoing authentication systems will leverage behavioral patterns for ongoing authentication to maintain continuous identity verification for greater levels of security. 
  • Healthcare Applications. Biometric scanning eliminates the risk of unauthorized access to confidential medical information. Biometrics will also verify a patient’s entitlement to a specific medical treatment. 
  • Banking Applications. In banking, the existing biometric systems and additional biometric markers will make banking even safer and hacker-proof. 
  • Mobile Payments. The ready availability of smartphone facial recognition tools will enable secure mobile payments. Combining biometric hardware and supporting software will help users use facial recognition to complete secure payments using a mobile app. 
  • Quicker Store Check-Outs. Retailers will use biometric scanning with AI-enabled facial recognition that will automatically deduct payments for the goods collected by buyers.
  • Secured Storage Solutions. It is relatively difficult to create fake faces and fingerprints. This prompts cyber criminals to attack databases where biometric data is archived. Newer forms of scrambling stored data and saving it on separate servers are being worked on. This will make it difficult for hackers to piece the data together again.
  • Offensive Testing. To preempt hackers, firms have begun testing the future of biometric technology and their systems by mimicking hackers, attacking their systems, and bypassing security. Offensive testing will proactively test the robustness of the systems against hacker attacks.
  • Increased Sophistication. So, to overcome the vulnerabilities to physical spoofing, 3D scanning technologies are being developed that will scan all round physical details of a person’s face or fingerprints. Similar techniques will also be used for voice detection and iris scanning.

Final Thoughts

HyperVerge’s biometric authentication solutions enable reliable identity verification and security. Consumer and enterprise multi-factor verification systems incorporate elements of biometric scanning. Biometric systems have the potential to maximize cyber hygiene with biometric authentication and identity management systems. The increased adoption of on-premise and cloud-based verification platforms will be powered by their ability to be integrated with a business’s existing legacy systems.


What is biometrics and how is it used to verify identity?

Biometrics is the use of physical attributes of people to verify their identity for authentication and verification. For example, when an individual uses a fingerprint scanner to check in at work, the scanner uses stored fingerprint information to verify the person’s identity.

What are some examples of different types of biometrics and where are they used?

Examples of biometrics include fingerprints, iris signature, facial recognition, voice, handwriting and vascular recognition. Fingerprints are often used as the basic mode for verifying identity, iris recognition is used for identity verification before allowing entry into data centers, facial recognition is used for automated check-in at some airports, and voice recognition is used for logging into bank accounts.

How does biometric technology compare to traditional methods of authentication, such as passwords and PINs?

Biometric technology is considered to be more reliable than traditional methods of authentication such as passwords and PINs. Physical attributes are difficult to falsify compared to passwords and PINs, making biometric technology a more secure means of verifying identity. Additionally, the use of biometric technology eliminates the need for individuals to remember multiple passwords, making it more convenient for users.