Reliable user authentication is becoming an increasingly important task in the Web-enabled world. The consequences of an insecure authentication system in a corporate or enterprise environment can be catastrophic, and may include loss of confidential information, denial of service, and compromised data integrity. The value of reliable user authentication is not limited to just computer or network access. Many other applications in everyday life also require user authentication, such as banking, e-commerce, and physical access control to computer resources, and could benefit from enhanced security.
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A wide variety of systems require reliable personal recognition schemes to either confirm or reject the identity of an individual requesting their services. The purpose of such schemes is to ensure that the services are accessed only by a legitimate user and no one else. Examples of such applications include secure access to buildings, computer systems, laptops, cellular phones, and ATMs.
In the absence of robust personal identification schemes, these systems are vulnerable to the undesired access. Biometric recognition refers to the automatic recognition of individuals based on their physiological and/or behavioral characteristics. With the help of biometrics it is possible to confirm or establish an individual’s identity based on “who he/she is”, rather than by “what he/she possesses” (e.g., an ID card) or “what he/she remembers” (e.g., a password). The prevailing techniques of user authentication, which either passwords and user Ids (identifiers), or identification cards and PINs (personal identification numbers), suffer from several limitations. Passwords and PINs can be acquired by direct covert observation. Once an intruder acquires the user ID and the password, the intruder has total access to the user’s resources. Biometric systems gives a better alternative to the existing systems.
The bioentities that can be used for authentication are Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), Face, Fingerprint, Iris (the colour pattern in eyes bounded by pupil and limbus), Hand geometry, Palmprint, Signature, Voice, Other biometrics such as gaits, lip prints, brain signals, ears, teeth, retinas, odor, keystrokes, heights, weights and genders have been proposed.
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