According to a newly released report, there are more than 1.4 billion records stolen globally in 2016. And the total number of stolen identities since 2013 has reached an incredible number of 7 billion. In an effort to provide the highest degree of assurance in identity verification, biometric technology is considered to be crucial in a secure identification system deployment. A living person’s biometric data will first be captured, processed and then stored in the smart card’s integrated circuit chip (ICC). This kind of card can be easily found as a bank card, even in some countries, national ID cards.
The integrating of smart card and biometrics is the combination of one of the most reliable forms of electronic identification and a strong authentication method that bring huge benefits and advantages to both users and issuers. Firstly, using smartcard with biometric will remarkably enhance privacy in the identity management system. While smart card technology secures stored information through advanced cryptography to prevent replacement or changes of biometric data and prevent the cloning or skimming of the card, biometric technology ensures that only the authorized card holders can access their personal information. An individual’s biometrics cannot be lost, forgotten or stolen like password, and so it strengthens the identity authentication. Consequently, embedded data is kept safe in the card.
Secondly, thanks to its ability to identify people with minimal ambiguity, biometric recognition together with smart card are believed to increase the security of the overall ID system as well as improve the accuracy, speed, and control of cardholder authentication. As the importance accurate identification grows, the two-factor authentication of “something you have” – the card in this case and “something you are” – biometrics instead of “something you know” – password are being deployed more increasingly. Especially in sectors that require high level of assurance and transparency such as banking, immigration, election and government’s social services distribution.
Last but not least, storing biometric data on a smartcard improves the system performance and users’ convenience regardless their location and the deployment of database or network. A cardholder can perform verification (1:1 matching) of his or her live biometric data against stored one with a card reader locally without internet connection to the central database. This local processing can reduce the time to authenticate an individual’s identity which leads to faster security checks.
Moving forward to the future of ever-evolving technology, there has been biometric bankcard with embedded fingerprint sensor which was recently introduced by MasterCard. This advent enables card holders to place their thumb on the reader for a speedy payment at checkout while remaining secured. Recently IriTech, an iris biometrics provider has partnered with a barcode technology provider to develop an innovative biometric card solution called HD Barcode, an ID card with encrypted iris data embedded in a proprietary 2D barcode. The solution provides significantly improved security compared to that of other public codes such as QR codes and is more cost-effective compared to IC chip smart card. Individual’s identification can be performed using a mobile device with an integrated iris camera or connecting a mobile with a USB enabled iris scanner.
As a summary, the integrating of biometric with smart card results in a highly trusted ID management solution. Stored information is secured, identification accuracy is higher, and verification performance is convenient and faster. Every technology has its own drawbacks and biometric smart card is not an exception, but as the technology keeps developing, we can expect for a biometric card solution with more advanced functions.