The Advantages & Disadvantages of Fingerprint Scanning

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Finger print identification & Fingerprint scanning

Biometric finger scanner scans a fingerprint and keeps a record of it

The newest and most rapidly-developing field of access control deals with biometric information. This means that access control solutions are provided not with stronger locks, more complicated keys or better alarms, but by tying access to specific characteristics of an authorized person that are hard, if not impossible, to fake.

Finger print identification has long been used by law enforcement to find suspects. Today, fingerprint scanning is being used to identify the good guys, as well.

A biometric finger scanner is a device that scans a fingerprint and keeps a record of it. When a door is closed or a computer shut down, the scanning device must be used to open the door or turn the device back on. A person whose fingerprint is stored as a valid access key is scanned when they put their finger on the scanning device. If it matches one of the approved fingerprints, access is granted. It seems perfect and it almost is perfect. Almost.

A biometric finger scanner is a device necessarily limited by the quality of technology used in its construction. Laptop computers have recently been marketed with these devices onboard as a means of controlling access to the machine by hackers or other criminals or simply as a privacy device.

Reviews have been mixed. Because this technology is so sensitive, cheap components in its construction can result in an authorized person being denied access because of a bit of sweat on the finger or an inconveniently placed cut. If a worker is not allowed their approved access to part of a facility or a computer user is locked out of their machine, the results can be quite stressful.

The benefits of a biometric finger scanner, however, are obvious. It's quite easy to copy a key or write down an alarm code and pass it along to unauthorized persons. It's nearly impossible to duplicate another person's fingerprint in a form that the scanner will recognize.
Other types of access control solutions have a weakness in that they depend on something that can easily be lost, shared or duplicated. Finger prints have none of those weaknesses.

More benefits of fingerprint scanning

Another strength in finger print recognition is that, in the case of providing access through a door, whomever has an approved finger print does not necessarily have access to any other part of the security system. Anyone with the key to any door has access to a wealth of information: the manufacturer of the lock and possibly the model, they type of keys used at the facility and, in the worst case scenario, possible access to a master-level key that can open more than one door.

Likewise, hackers are experts at finding out passwords to your computer. If they know you well enough to know your birthday, your dog's name and what kind of car you drive, they have a start. No matter what other information they may have, however, they likely don't have a useable copy of your fingerprint!

Access control solutions for fingerprint scanners

Access control with biometric information is used:

  • for heavily-guarded facilities
  • in labs and development sections of production industries
  • by immigration officers for international travelers
  • on laptops and other electronic devices that carry private data

and many more sectors will follow in the near future

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The Advantages and Disadvantages of Fingerprint Scanning