What Does Biometrics Mean?

Biometrics is a technological and scientific authentication method based on biology and used in information assurance (IA). Biometric identification authenticates secure entry, data or access via human biological information such as DNA or fingerprints. Biometric systems include several linked components for effective functionality.


The biometric system connects an event to a single person, whereas other ID forms, such as a personal identification number (PIN), may be used by anyone.

Techopedia Explains Biometrics

Biometrics is used for security systems and replacement systems for ID cards, tokens or PINs. A key difference between biometrics and other systems is that biometric verification of physical information requires a person to be present, which adds a layer of security because other ID types can be stolen, lost or forged.

A biometric system includes the following components and features:

  • A sensor that grabs data and changes it into a usable, digital format via software. This data may be from human behavioral or physical characteristics, such as a fingerprint or retinal scan. An acquisition device, such as a microphone or scanner, captures the data.
  • A biometric template developed via the biometric system’s signal processing algorithms. These templates are compared to the biometric system’s data storage, and data is usually encrypted for added security. A matching algorithm compares new templates with others held in the biometric system’s data storage facility.
  • A decision process uses matching event results.

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Margaret Rouse

Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…