A Guide to the Types of Biometric Authentication

By  //  August 11, 2022

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Biometric authentication is the use of unique physical attributes to provide a positive confirmation of identity. There are several popularly utilized ways of producing airtight biometric authentication. These are used in workplaces, as part of end-user device security, and in criminal investigations.

Here is a guide to the most popular methods. 


Fingerprint identification is one of the oldest biometric authentication methods. The development of fingerprint authentication had nothing to do with cybersecurity. Instead, it was developed in the 19th century in order to positively identify criminal suspects.

Although the development of fingerprint identification occurred throughout the 19th century, it was not until 1908 that the first standardized fingerprint card was developed. Each human being has a unique set of fingerprints: gripping patterns present on the pad of each finger. 

These days, fingerprint authentication is part of the Multi Factor Authentication (MFA) system incorporated into many end-user devices. Fingerprint reading is relatively cheap to incorporate into a device design and is extremely hard to spoof. Many businesses have started to retrofit end-user devices with fingerprint readers in order to sure up cybersecurity defenses. 


The tone, pitch, and rhythm of a person’s voice are determined by a huge range of biological and social factors. This makes each person’s voice a near unique signature. Using machine learning algorithms, software can analyze a person’s voice as part of an authentication system. Voice recognition systems are rarely used in business contexts due to the potentially disruptive impact of hundreds of people speaking in order to gain access. 

Facial Recognition 

Each human being has a unique facial structure determined by genetics and lifestyle. Facial recognition software uses a camera sensor and machine learning algorithms to accurately identify faces. This technology has aroused controversy.

Police forces around the world have come under fire for using facial recognition technology to suppress peaceful protest and – in the case of the People’s Republic of China – suppress an entire ethnic group. Less controversial uses of facial recognition software have included end-user device authentication and passport control automation. 


The iris is the part of the eye that controls the size of the pupil. Each iris is completely unique and contains identifiable colored patterns. Iris recognition is slightly more complicated to implement than other forms of biometric ID, but it is still highly effective.

The first iris scanning cameras had to be used very close to the eyeball itself, making its use impractical. 


For a long time, DNA has been the most accurate biometric authentication medium available. DNA is a substance that is found in every single cell in the human body. It is considered to be the unique building block behind each person’s unique features.

DNA can be collected from skin, blood, and just about any other material from the human body. DNA samples are, of course, not viable as workplace or end-user authentication methods. They are, however, commonly used in criminal investigations and paternity tests to give a definite positive identification.