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International Journal of Computer Science Engineering and Information Technology Research (IJCSEITR) ISSN 2249-6831 Vol. 3, Issue 2, Jun 2013, 153-160 © TJPRC Pvt. Ltd.

AN OVERVIEW OF BIOMETRIC SYSTEM A. M. BOJAMMA, B. NITHYA & PRASAD. C. N Department of Computer Science, Saint Joseph’s College (Autonomous), Langford Road, Shanthinagar, Bangalore, India

ABSTRACT The term biometric comes from the Greek words bios (life) and metrikos (measure).Humans have used body characteristics such as face, voice, gait, etc. for thousands of years to recognize each other. With the proliferation of computers networks in our day to day life, the increased number of applications making use of such networks leads to a problem of identity theft [7] .A wide variety of systems requires reliable personal recognition schemes to either confirm or determine the identity of an individual. Biometric technology is more convenient and efficient than any other protection technologies used for identity authentication. Biometric technology plays a key role in recognizing humans based on their body Characteristics .The purpose of such schemes is to make sure that the rendered services are accessed only by a legitimate user, and not by anyone else. Hence Biometrics plays a vital role in securing one’s privacy using various Biometrics techniques through which fraudulence can be avoided. Biometric technology is considered one of the best protection methods of user information and data[8].

KEYWORDS: Biometric Technology, Circumvention, Fingerprint INTRODUCTION Biometrics is defined as the unique physical/logical characteristics or traits of human body [1] used to identify each human. Any feature of the human body which differs from one human to the other can be used as a unique Biometric data to serve as that person’s unique identification. For example, fingerprint iris, retina and DNA. With biometrics body becomes the anchor of identification. A brief background of Biometric and Biometric Security System will provide an understanding of the concept. The combination of biometric data systems and biometrics recognition/ identification technologies creates the biometric security systems. The relationship between the biometric and biometric security system is that of a lock and key system. The biometrics security system is the lock and biometrics is the key to open that lock [1]. Criteria’s of a Biometric Security System These are the 7 basic criteria’s of Biometric Security Systems 

Uniqueness is considered as the primary parameter for biometric Security. It will indicate how differently and uniquely the biometric security system will be able to recognize each user among different users.

Universality is the secondary parameter for the biometric security. This parameter indicates requirements for unique characteristics of each person in the world, which cannot be replicated.

Permanence is the third parameter which specifies that every single characteristic or trait should be sufficiently invariant (with respect to the matching criterion) over a period of time.


A. M. Bojamma, B. Nithya & Prasad. C. N

Collectability is the fourth parameter which requires the collection of each characteristic and trait of an individual by the system in order to verify their identification. The characteristic can be measured quantitatively.

Performance is the fifth parameter which decides how well the security system works. It refers to accuracy and speed, as well as the operational and environmental factors that affect the accuracy and speed.

Acceptability is the sixth parameter which indicates the extent to which people are willing to accept the use of a particular biometric identifier in their daily lives.

Circumvention is the seventh parameter which reflects how easily the system can be fooled using fraudulent methods .This parameter will decide how easily a trait or a characteristic provided by the user can be duplicated leading to the failure of the system during the verification process.

Pictorial Representation of 7 Basic Criteria’s of Biometric Security Systems The following table shows a comparison of existing biometric systems in terms of those parameters: Biometric Template Face Fingerprint Hand Geometry Keystrokes Hand veins Iris Retina Scan Signature Voice Facial Thermography odor DNA Gait Analysis Ear Recognition

Universa -lity 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 1 0 0.5

Unique -ness 0 1 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 1 0 0

Permane -nce 0.5 1 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 0.5 0 0

Collectab -ility 1 0.5 1 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 1 0.5

Perform -ance 0 1 0.5 0.5 0 0.5 1 1 0 0

Acceptab -ility 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0 0 1 1

Circumve -ntion 0 1 0.5 0.5 0.5 1 1 1 0 0








1 1 0.5 0.5

1 1 0 0.5

1 1 0 1

0 0 1 0.5

0 1 0 0.5

0.5 0 1 1

0 0 0.5 0.5

A. K. Jain ranks each biometric based on the categories as being either low, medium, or high. A low ranking indicates poor performance in the evaluation criterion whereas a high ranking indicates a very good performance. Time Line of Biometric History Since the beginning of civilization, humans have used face as a recognizing parameter to identify a known individual from an unknown. The concept of human to human behavior recognition such as gait etc also played a vital role in biometric history. There is evidence that fingerprints were used as a person’s identity as early as 500 B.C during the

An Overview of Biometric System


Babylonian era. Spanish explorers wrote that early Chinese traders used fingerprints to recognize and facilitate Business transactions. Egyptian traders made use of each individual’s physical description to differentiate a trusted trader from the offenders. By mid 1800’s with the increase in population and industrialization there was a need to identify each individual in various sectors [7]. This led to the creation of a formal system that recorded identity traits of individuals working in trading sector. The first recorded systematic capture of fingerprints and hand images was achieved by Sir William Herschel, working for the civil services of India, in the year 1858, for the purpose of identification. During the late 1800’s the police department made use of formal approach of fingerprinting, which helped them to retrieve records. In the year 1870’s Alphonse Bertillon developed anthropometrics –a method of identifying individuals based on various characteristics like body measurement, physical description, photographs. This helped the police department to identify repeat criminal offenders worldwide [8]. In the year 1896 Sir Edward Henry develops a fingerprint classification system which refined Bertillon’s work. The actual emergence of biometric happened during the latter half of the 20th century. In the early 2000's biometrics became a primary feature among all day to day business applications. In the year 2002 a technical committee on biometrics was formed. The year 2003 saw the emergence of European biometric forum. From identification of criminals for prevention of unauthorized access to ATMs, Cellular phones, Smart Cards, Desktop PCs, Workstations, Computer Networks, Biometrics has come a long way. On its implementation into our daily lives we can look forward to a boost in security and surveillance. Biometrics Technology: Overview With the development of latest security policies we can observe an increased concern over identity and new identification technologies to ease up the task of identification on the assumption that this will offer much needed security. The problem of authentication and identification is a challenging task. No single biometrics is expected to effectively satisfy the needs of all identification or authentication issues. A number of biometrics techniques have been proposed, researched, and evaluated for identification and authentication. Each biometrics has its strengths and limitations; and accordingly, each biometric appeal to a particular identification or authentication technique. The most common biometric techniques are described in the section below. 

Fingerprint Depending on the initial embryonic conditions each individual is believed to have a unique set of fingerprints.

Hence fingerprint is a primary technique in biometric identification. It plays a vital role in forensic divisions worldwide for criminal investigations. There are 5 basic patterns which are comprised in a fingerprint [13]. They are the arch, such as tented and plain arch covers 5%of fingerprint. Left and right loops cover 60% of fingerprints, Whorl covers 34% of fingerprints and accidental whorls covers 1% of fingerprints (Health department of New Mexico). The uniqueness of a fingerprint can be determined based on the patterns mentioned above.

Generally, a fingerprint image is captured in one of two ways:


A. M. Bojamma, B. Nithya & Prasad. C. N

Scanning an inked impression of a finger

Using a live-scan fingerprint scanner. Various new technologies have been designed with tools for fingerprint identification such as Ultrasound and

Optical. The two main algorithms used to recognize fingerprints are: 

Minutiae Matching will compare the details of the extracted minutiae with the minutiae image which is provided at the time of access (Biometricsnewportal 2011)

Pattern Matching will compare all the surfaces of the finger instead of a particular point. This matching technique concentrates more on thickness, density and curvature of finger’s surface. Fingerprint recognition system is advantageous as it is easy to use and install, the equipment costs less, consumes

less power and is efficient to a certain extent. The disadvantage of fingerprint recognition system is that it becomes very difficult to identify the fingerprint if the surface of the finger gets damaged [2]. Fingerprint security system is widely used in various applications such as attendance systems, laptops, cell phones and used in various judicial systems to record user’s identification information. 

Iris Recognition The iris is the colored annular ring that surrounds the pupil. The iris is a protected internal organ whose texture is

stable and distinctive, even among identical twins very similar to fingerprints, and is extremely difficult to surgically manipulate. Visual texture of the human iris is determined by the chaotic morphogenetic processes during embryonic development and is posited to be unique for each person and each eye. An iris image is typically captured using a noncontact imaging process .The image is obtained using an ordinary CCD [2] camera with a resolution of 512 dpi. Capturing an iris image involves cooperation from the user, both to register the image of iris in the central imaging area and to ensure that the iris is at a predetermined distance from the focal plane of the camera .Iris images acquired under infrared illumination consist of complex texture pattern with numerous individual attributes such as stripes, pits, and furrows [16]. These attributes of iris could be used for positive person identification. Small and the constant length position invariant code permit an extremely fast method of iris recognition.

The advantage of iris recognition method is that this technology is believed to be highly error free and efficient. The accuracy and matching speed of currently available iris recognition systems is very high [16]. The disadvantage of iris recognition system is that it is intrusive in nature hence there is a relatively large failure to enroll (FTE) rate. The cost of

An Overview of Biometric System


image capturing device is high and the database consumes lot of memory space. Some large-scale government applications might not consider the legacy of iris databases valid. Some Current and Future Applications of Iris Recognition include national border security controls, computer login, cell phone and other wireless-device-based authentication, secure access to bank accounts at cash machines, forensics; birth certificates; tracing missing or wanted persons ,etc. 

Face Face is one of the most acceptable and common method of identification which humans use in their visual

interactions. Features such as eyes, nose, lips, chin, and the global appearance of a face form the basis for identification. Hence, face becomes a natural human trait for automated biometric recognition [10]. In addition, the method of acquiring face images is non-intrusive. Face recognition systems typically utilize the spatial relationship among the locations of facial features mentioned above. Facial images can be captured using still cameras and digital video recorder.

Two primary approaches to the identification based on face recognition are 

Transform Approach: the universe of face image domain is represented using a set of orthonormal basis vectors. Currently, the most popular basis vectors are eigenfaces. eigenfaces refers to an appearance-based approach to face recognition that seeks to capture the variation in a collection of face images and use this information to encode and compare images of individual faces in a holistic (as opposed to a parts-based or feature-based) manner. Two faces are considered to be identical if they are sufficiently ―close‖ in the eigenface feature space

Attribute-Based Approach: facial attributes like nose, eyes, etc. are extracted from the face image and the invariance of geometric properties among the face landmark features is used for recognizing features. The advantages of Facial recognition system is that the technique is less expensive and Non intrusive , has high

user acceptance, and provides acceptable levels of recognition performance in controlled environments. Facial recognition has a considerable set of disadvantages which can adversely affect the face recognition system which include the problems associated with illumination during image capture, gesture, and facial makeup, occlusion, and pose variations [10]. Developing a face recognition system which can tolerate the affects of aging, change in facial expressions on a face can be challenging. Some of the applications of face recognition systems include facial verification for police records, passports and driving licenses—that are currently being automated 

Voice Voice is a characteristic of an individual. Speech or voice-based recognition systems identify a person based on

their spoken words. Speech or voice-based recognition systems identify a person based on their spoken words However; it is not expected to be sufficiently unique to permit identification of an individual from a large database of identities [2]. The


A. M. Bojamma, B. Nithya & Prasad. C. N

spectral content of the voice is analyzed to extract its intensity, duration, quality, and pitch information, which is used to build a model (typically the Hidden Markov Model) for speaker recognition. Telephony is the primary and most common area of implementation for voice recognition.

A digital model of an individual's voice that can serve as a stored profile or template of that voice print. Words and phrases are broken down into various kinds of frequency patterns that, taken together, describe someone's unique way of speaking. The templates are stored in databases for matching like other kinds of biometric data[2]. Groups of Voice Biometrics algorithms for voice recognition include: 

Embedded Voice Biometrics Algorithms

Web Based Voice Biometrics

Windows Voice API The advantages of voice biometrics include remote authentication without the need for the physical presence of

the user. Voice biometric is primarily used in verification mode. Voice prints help enable secure transactions, Voice recognition is non-contact, non-intrusive and easy to use. The disadvantages or challenges faced by a voice recognition system are poor quality of voice samples, variability of speaker’s voice due to factors like illness, mood, background noise, spoofing, etc. Some of the applications of voice recognition include access for financial services, customer authentication for service calls, and challenge-response implementations for house arrest and probation-related authentication. 

DNA The DNA is an acronym for deoxyribonucleic acid which is present in nucleus of every cell in human body and

therefore a highly stable biometric identifier that represents physiological characteristic [3]. It is composed of genes that determine physical characteristics like eye or hair, skin color. DNA is double helix structure made of four bases: Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Cytosine (C), and Guanine (G) DNA is the one-dimensional unique code for one's individuality - except for the fact that identical twins have the identical DNA. DNA based personal identification determine whether two DNA samples originate from the same/different individual(s) based on the distinctive signature at one or more polymorphic loci . The human DNA can be extracted from a variety of sources like human hair, saliva, finger nails, blood samples, etc. Major component of DNA extraction is a tedious task which involves cumbersome chemical methods requiring expert’s skills. The DNA requires being isolated from source or sample, amplified to create multiple copies followed by sequencing to generate a unique DNA profile. DNA Extraction can be successfully accomplished using CTAB Method, and using genetic algorithms.

An Overview of Biometric System


Some of the advantages of Biometric DNA profiling is that it is quite popular, as the results of matching are highly accurate.DNA technology has a profound arena of application. The disadvantages can be listed as highly expensive, contamination of the sample, finding an expert to analyze the DNA sample. Using DNA as a biometric identifier has various applications like forensic evidence, medical applications, human gene therapy, etc. Future of Biometrics As biometrics becomes more adopted we are starting to see more. Researchers suggest that as more and more people become acquainted with the concept of biometrics security, the future of biometrics is bright. The public acceptance of biometrics is slow and steady. However, there are many reasons to believe that biometrics will change the life of people in near future mostly because its use will be much more convenient than other techniques in use today for individual identity authentication. In the recent future biometrics will invade the arenas of authentication, access and attendance control, Financial and other transactions requiring authentication, remote voting, travel control, use of automatic working devices, Biometrics' future will include e-commerce applications for extra security.. There are a whole host of other biometric technologies at various stages of development and acceptance, some of which are set to come to market in future years. The list includes hand geometry, palm printing, dynamic grip recognition, facial thermography, facial feature recognition and retina recognition, voice and signature recognition, keystroke dynamics and DNA identification. Biometric technology will further develop 3-D infrared facial recognition access control, real-time facial recognition passive surveillance, and visitor management authentication systems. As the need increases for government bodies and large firms to deploy hi-tech security systems to solve crimes or protect employees, biometric technology will improve, as investor confidence increases. Complex and expensive research programs are being delivered to refine the current biometric security systems and also development of new technologies and applications are encouraged to improve the quality of biometrics. Biometric developers will surpass the quality of their current product so that the future of the biometric field will be assured in the hitech marketplace. Once the consumer confidence is evident, biometric research will provide further innovations, which will in turn strengthen future performance, and this cycle will continue to build in a positive direction.


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