Biometric Authentication

What Does Biometric Authentication Mean?

Biometric authentication is a user identity verification process that involves biological input, or the scanning or analysis of some part of the body.


Biometric authentication methods are used to protect many different kinds of systems – from logical systems facilitated through hardware access points to physical systems protected by physical barriers, such as secure facilities and protected research sites.

Techopedia Explains Biometric Authentication

Security experts often differentiate biometric authentication from other types of authentication, such as knowledge-based authentication, which involves passwords or other pieces of information unique to a specific user. Another broad-level type is known as “property-based authentication,” where authentication relies on a user-held object, such as a key or card.

Biometric authentication is widely known as the most effective type of authentication because it is extremely difficult to transfer biological material or features from one user to another. However, the traditional costs of biometric authentication have made it an impossible option for many projects. New technologies are making biometric authentication more realistically feasible for a range of different implementations.

The most common and evolving types of biometric authentication involve facial scanning. Facial scanning tools now have the ability to identify people and can be used for different types of security and authentication. Fingerprint-based authentication is also common. Some types of biometric authentication focus on particular features, such as eyes, whereas others use more comprehensive body scanning models.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret 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 IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.