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Weaknesses of Biometric Authentication Assignment

Question: Prepare a paper on the weaknesses of biometric authentication

Solution:

Introduction

Biometric authentication is a security measure that uses unique biological attributes of individuals to verify their specific identity. The authentication system usually comprises of comparing the captured biometric data with that stored in the database. Biometric identifiers are the measurable and distinctive characteristics which are utilised to label and separate individuals. Common instances of biometrics identifiers include iris recognition, retina, face recognition, fingerprint, palm print and palm veins. The systems are being extensively used and adopted in contemporary times since they are unique and more resilient in reliable identification of an individual (Csoonline.com, 2019). Despite the reliability and comparative edge of the system, there are certain underlying weaknesses which are affecting the overall performance of biometric authentication.

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Types of weaknesses in biometric
One of the major challenges identified in the biometric authentication is the method through which the biometrics of an individual is captured and mapped with an established identity. The lack of meticulous accuracy in capturing can lead to the abject failure of the system. Capturing data in a partial manner can lead to failure since it will consume a humungous level of time and effort to actually identify and acknowledge the individual. Even in the case of accurate capture improper binding to the established identity can cause issues in identifying the individual. Improper capture of data and subsequent binding is thus a tangible issue faced in the system.

Yet another identified weakness is the issue of privacy. In case the captured data is not provided with robust protection it could have intensely serious consequence for an individual. Of the servers storing the pertinent information is invaded and hacked there is an extremely adverse implication where the identity of the person can be stolen, manipulated and compromised (Kursun et al., 2018). His identity can be utilised by hackers while committing criminal activities thus leading to false incrimination. An instance can be observed in the case of Personnel Management Office of the United States whereby 5.6 million fingerprints were hacked and accessed. This is admittedly a considerable threat and weakness in the authentication system as compared to the traditional approach of tokens.

One of the other errors which can result in considerable consequences is the case of false acceptance and rejection. This specifically happens in the case where a particular biometric authentication fails to read the attributes of the individual being considered due to various reasons. The false acceptance is the scenario where the system provides access to an unauthorised person. This is fatal since the database stores the identity of a specific individual while providing access to another person who can execute illicit activities utilizing the identity of the person as determined by the database (Kashyap, 2019). Yet another potential scenario is the case where a certified and authentic individual is falsely rejected by the system causing undue harassment and wastage of time.

There are other diverse challenges that the system faces like once stored and locked in the database there can be no changes done to the facial scan or retina. It is very specific to the type of solution practised. In case there are breaches and the person identifies that his identity has been compromised at some point quick changes cannot be done in the system despite authentication and authorisation being available. This lack of flexibility makes the system tedious and consuming a lot of manual efforts and times. Also, the system is not favourable for persons with physical challenges (Velsquez, Caro & Rodrguez, 2018). The rigidity of the biometric authentication system thus is a severe flaw which needs to be rectified.

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Controls to mitigate weaknesses
In order to overcome the weakness of improper capturing of data and subsequent binding to the identity n the database training and development programs must be arranged. The person entrusted with capturing the data of an individual must be provided stringent guidelines as to how the data must be taken from multiple perspectives and multiple times to avoid disasters. In case of facial recognition or fingerprint, the data must be captured from different angles and different positions to avoid discrepancies later on (Malarvizhi, Selvarani & Raj, 2019). At least 15 levels of capturing the essential data must be incorporated in the system and bound to a single identity to combat failures.

To tackle the issue of privacy and network security appropriate measures related to cybercrimes must be followed by the system. Current devices must always be installed and implemented to prevent hacking and stealing of identities. The sensors, computers and software being utilised for the process must be protected with resilient passwords and changed at specified intervals to ward off live or scripted hackings and invasion (Malarvizhi, Selvarani & Raj, 2019). The servers containing sensitive and high profile data must be protected by installing firewalls. Encryption should be used for databases at all levels thus ensuring that even if hackers do succeed in retrieving biometric data they will not be able to read or capitalise on it.

Companies or institution should be highly selective when opting for biometric solutions to their function of recognition. Ideally, a system with high FRR or False Recognition Rate must be used to rule out the possibility of unauthorised access. FRR is the measure by which the likelihood of the biometric system incorrectly rejects the attempts to access by an authorised user is considered. Typically a biometric system must have a low proportion of FAR or the possibility of the incorrect acceptance of an unauthorised user (Sivakumar, 2019).

The rigidity and high discrimination of the biometric system can be controlled to some extent by incorporating the method of noting exceptions. The exceptions in case of biometrics must be noted down by operators focusing on capturing the data such that people with disabilities and disfigurements can be included in the database. To deal with biometric data being compromised a unique identification number may be assigned to each of them in case the data is accessed by malignant elements. This would aid in collecting the data from a different perspective again.

Conclusion
In conclusion, it can be derived that the system of biometrics though providing unique and authentic identification has underlying flaws. In order to overcome the difficulties and issues, multi-factor authentication systems can be used where multiple systems of recognition are clumped together to deal with unethical access and incorrect recognition. The system of biometric is not entirely foolproof but by following these approaches major disasters involving manipulation of identities may be prevented.

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