The term ‘biometrics’ in its broadest sense refers to the measurement and analysis of human characteristics that are unique to particular individuals.
Examples of these characteristics include fingerprints, facial recognition, DNA, hand geometry and iris recognition.
Biometrics are used widely in security to control access to high value systems and data. The advantage is that it is far more difficult to replicate an identifier such as a fingerprint, which is innately complex and unique, than a password or man-made identifier.
As well as being effective security measures in themselves, they can be used alongside other factors of authentication to build up layers of security.
Factors of authentication can essentially be summed up as something you know, such as a password, something you have, such as a dongle or smartphone, and something you ‘are’. The latter is the biometric