More about biometric authentication

With cyberattacks on the rise, companies are turning to biometric authentication to secure users’ devices and their data. Biometrics are nearly impossible for fraudsters to spoof or steal.

There are multiple types of biometric authentication based on both physical and behavioral traits. Here are some examples: fingerprints, iris and retina scanning, gait recognition, and voice and typing recognition.


Fingerprint recognition is the most widely used biometric authentication method. It’s fast, convenient and easy to use, plus it’s a lot harder for hackers to steal or spoof than a password.

The technology behind fingerprint scanning is incredibly advanced, and it’s often used by law enforcement, military personnel and government agencies for criminal identification purposes. It is also a popular choice for mobile device security, with many smartphones and tablets featuring built-in readers.

A downside of this is that it can be a bit more challenging to implement in shared device environments, as the specialized hardware required by biometrics needs to be installed on all authentication endpoints. This can add to the overall cost of implementing this type of security solution. Also, if the hardware is not secured properly, it could be susceptible to hacking, and personal information may be exposed to unauthorized parties. This is why it’s important to consider cybersecurity hygiene when choosing a biometric authentication solution.


Iris recognition uses video camera technology with subtle near infrared illumination to capture images of the detail-rich patterns visible on a person’s eyes. Mathematical and statistical algorithms convert those images into digital templates that are stored in a database for verification. This type of biometric authentication is used in airports and other security sensitive settings. It is more reliable than fingerprints and can detect identical twins.

However, it can be fooled by a presentation attack (faking an enrolled image) or by moving the eye to confuse the scanner. It is also prone to errors caused by poor lighting or movement. Like all biometrics, iris scans are susceptible to data breaches and hacking. But they are more secure than passwords or knowledge-based authentication methods.

Retinal Scans

A retina scan displays a pattern of variations in the blood vessels at the back of the eye. These patterns are unique to each individual and supposedly very difficult to fake or replicate. This technology is often used in the military and in high-end security applications.

Retina scanners use a beam of invisible infrared light to capture the pattern of reflected light off the surface of the eye. They can be less intrusive than other types of optical recognition tech like iris scanning which requires you to lean in and look at the device up close. Retina scans, however, have been reported as being uncomfortable and sometimes even painful. They also require the user to stay conscious which can be a safety issue.

Retina scanning can be useful in the medical field as it can detect signs of common communicable diseases such as AIDS, syphilis and malaria as well as hereditary diseases. It can also help diagnose chronic health issues like congestive heart failure and atherosclerosis.


For mobile app or web logins, and to verify customer identity through IVR authentication, voice biometrics is a convenient solution. It’s harder to spoof than fingerprints or iris scans and can’t be stolen like passwords. However, it requires a microphone and can be affected by background noises.

There are two types of voice biometrics: text-dependent and text-independent. The former requires the repeating of a previously given paraphrase that is stored in the system, which poses a constraint to speech content. The latter allows free speech but needs more time to train the voice recognition engine.

Credit union members are happy to adopt a frictionless verification method that protects their account from fraudsters. This is one of the reasons Illuma Shield has very high member adoption rates across our client base in contact centers. To learn more about integrating voice biometrics into your security systems, get in touch with our team. They can help you get started with a pilot to test how it fits into your business.