Posted by media on January 5, 2017 at 9:00 AM
The use of biometric authentication systems is starting to grow at a high speed. According to a study by Juniper Research, more than 600 million mobile devices will have this type of authentication system by the year 2021– which means multiplying the number of smartphones with biometric technology by 3 in 5 years.
In this post, we want to explain what exactly biometrics is, what it’s for, how we apply biometric technology in our advanced electronic signature solution, and how the biometric data we collect during any signature process serves to complement and reinforce the electronic evidences that unequivocally prove the signer's identity.
This post is also available in Spanish.
What is biometrics and what is it for?
As Avivah Litan, a reputed Gartner analyst with expertise in security analysis, user behavior analysis, fraud detection and prevention, and identity verification says, “biometrics is certainly the most secure form of authentication. It’s the hardest to imitate and duplicate”.In reality biometrics is not only difficult to copy, but it is practically impossible to do so, as it refers to the measurement of a number of features or distinctive characteristics of each individual, meaning that they are unique traits for each person.
By the definition of the word biometrics, biometric features are measurable, and they are known as biometric identifiers. They are classified in two types:
The biometric recognition or biometric authentication is the use of biometrics to identify or verify (authenticate) a person, measuring one or more of their biometric identifiers and determining their authenticity.
Therefore, technologies that use biometric authentication systems serve to identify or verify (authenticate) people and control accesses, whether it is a physical location or a virtual platform. Among the most common biometric technologies are fingerprint captures, facial or iris recognition technologies, and voice recognition technologies.
How is identification different from verification or authentication?
Both identification and verification, also called authentication, are two ways of recognizing a person's identity.
The difference between them is that the verification or authentication involves confirming or denying a person’s alleged identity. To confirm or deny if the person is who he/she claims to be.
Meanwhile, identification involves identifying or recognizing a person from a set of N people in a database.
In addition to biometric authentication systems, which rely on something physical, there are other systems that allow to identify a user or verify its identity. These systems can be classified according to what they use it for:
The advanced electronic signature solutions available in the market usually offer a series of electronic evidences that can be related with the signer in case of a dispute or litigation regarding the authorship of the signature:
Signaturit’s advanced electronic signature solution, in addition to collecting all of this electronic evidence generated during the signing process, has a biometric authentication system that allows to identify the signer by measuring one of its behavioral traits: the graph.
The information that is measured consists of the points that make up the graph, its position, the writing speed and acceleration and, in devices that allow it, also the pressure made when writing the signature.
Therefore, in a scenario of a dispute, the signer can be forced to repeat his/her signature, using the same device that he/she used when making the original signature. By comparing the biometric data collected in both moments of the signature, and thanks to the fact that this data is uniquely linked to each individual, we can verify the signer’s identity – meaning we can confirm if that person is the same person who signed the document.
In order to guarantee the validity of the biometric information that is collected during a signing process with Signaturit, this information is integrated into what we call the audit trail - and we ensure its integrity with an official time stamp.
The official time stamp is what allows us to guarantee that there has not been any modification of the data captured during a signing process after the completion of the signature.
With the ability to prove that all this information cannot be altered, we guarantee that the data provided in a dispute scenario could only have been produced in the moment of the signature.
In sum, the combination of our biometric authentication system along with the time stamp allows us to offer to our customers the best solution to request and make advanced electronic signatures, which have a greater evidentiary value than simple signatures, and thus offer greater legal security than the latter.
This post is also available in Spanish.
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