About SecuGen Technology
About Biometric Technology
About SecuGen Technology
1. Why fingerprints?
Fingerprint biometrics represents over 50% of all biometric methods
in use today. A mature and well-developed technology fostered
by healthy competition among many biometric technology providers,
fingerprint recognition is considered the best choice for many
applications because of its accuracy, speed, reliability, non-intrusive
interfaces, and cost-effectiveness.
2. SecuGen's core technology
SecuGen's core technology is designed into a revolutionary, patented
optical module that works with a powerful set of extraction and
matching algorithms developed for use with the unique SEIR optical
method. The module is embedded in SecuGen's line of fingerprint
PC peripheral devices and stand-alone devices used by OEMs around
the world for applications such as access control and time &
attendance. Software is available for desktop computer users,
networks, and the Internet serving a variety of needs.
3. SecuGen's SEIR Optical Method and Product Workmanship
Fingerprints can be scanned in different ways. Current techniques
include optical, ultrasound, and technologies based on semiconductor
SecuGen has pioneered the Surface Enhanced Irregular Reflection
(SEIR) optical method and patented
technology, resulting in the most compact and durable
optics-based fingerprint recognition systems in the world. For
more information, read the SecuGen
SEIR Optical Technology whitepaper.
The scratch-proof platen of the patented optical module is another
first in the industry; as hard as quartz, the sensor surface requires
no special coatings or maintenance and is virtually unbreakable.
The robust hardware extends the lifetime of SecuGen products
far beyond any chip-based fingerprinting technologies and is easily
small enough to embed into consumer devices.
Optical Method vs. Semiconductor (Chip) Method
5. How it Works
At the most basic level, all optics-based fingerprint systems
translate illuminated images of fingerprints into digital code
for further software processing, e.g. enrollment (fingerprint
registration) and verification (authentication of registered users).
SecuGen devices use the advanced SEIR method and CMOS image sensor
to capture high contrast, high resolution fingerprint images that
are virtually distortion-free.
A series of powerful algorithms developed by SecuGen extract
minutiae data from the image, mapping the distinguishing characteristics
of fingerprint ridge ends, splits, dots, and arches. Other fingerprint
minutiae include whorls, loops, ridge lines, valleys, bifurcations,
upper and lower cores, and deltas.
This data is then converted into a digital template (around 400
bytes) and stored in memory or on disk. (The actual fingerprint
image is never stored, and cannot be constructed from templates.)
To identify or verify a fingerprint, a proprietary matching algorithm
compares the extracted minutiae points from the input fingerprint
to a previously stored sample. The entire matching process takes
roughly one second. Authentication takes place either locally
or on a server, depending on system configuration.
Note that, for security, although your fingerprint image is momentarily
captured, it is deleted immediately after being processed by an
advanced extraction algorithm.
6. Fake or spoofed fingerprints
SecuGen devices also protect against latent fingerprints left
on the sensor surface and "faked" 2-D fingerprints, such as photocopies
or photographs. Constantly striving for innovation and meeting
customer demands, SecuGen continues to research and develop new
methods to counteract spoofing attacks, features once considered
the exclusive domain of expensive and highly specialized ultrasound
7. Why biometrics?
What qualities distinguish you from your neighbor? Of course
our personalities differ to some extent, but there is a physical
uniqueness as well. Once identified, these physical characteristics
can be exactly measured, numbered, and counted. The statistical
use of variations in these elements of living organisms is known
collectively as biometrics. A person's biometric data can be collected
and analyzed in a number of ways. This type of information is
especially useful for personal identification, in which people
are recognized by biometric-based security systems according to
their own unique corporal or behavioral characteristics. Human
traits and mannerisms that can be used in biometrics include fingerprints,
voice, face, retina, iris, handwriting, and hand geometry.
Biometric methods of identification are currently being used
to replace the less secure ID/Password method of user authentication,
that is, verifying that people are who they say they are. Using
biometric identifiers for personal authentication reduces or eliminates
reliance on tokens we must carry with us, or the arcane strings
of letters and numbers we are forced to memorize. Tokens, such
as smart cards, magnetic stripe cards, and physical keys can be
lost, stolen, or duplicated. Human memory is notoriously unreliable;
according to recent estimates, at least 40% of all help desk calls
are password or PIN-related. Losses attributed to fraud, identity
theft, and cyber vandalism due to password reliance run well into
the billions. Although passwords have traditionally been used
for personal authentication, they have nothing to do with a person's
Biometrics can be integrated into any application that requires
security, access control, and identification or verification of
people. With biometric security, we can dispense with the key,
the password, the PIN code; the access-enabler is you - not something
you know, or something you have in your possession. Remember,
biometrically secured resources are based on who a person is,
effectively eliminating risks associated with less advanced technologies,
while at the same time offering a higher level of security and
8. Biometrics Applied
Biometrics security technology basically acts as a front end
to a system that requires precise identification before it can
be accessed or used. That system could be a sliding door with
electronic locking mechanisms, an operating system, or an application
where individual users have their own rights and permissions.
In computer security, the term biometrics refers to authentication
techniques that automatically check measurable biological characteristics
of end users.
Examples include computer analysis of fingerprint minutiae data
or speech patterns. Of course, this is partly what passwords have
done all along. Again, the problem is that a password has nothing
to do with your actual identity. There is simply no foolproof
way to make password-protected systems completely safe from unauthorized
intrusion. Nor is there any way for password-based systems to
determine user identity beyond doubt.
9. Typical Biometric Systems
Popular biometric systems in use today include iris recognition,
voice recognition, and fingerprint recognition systems. Iris recognition
can be very accurate, but scanning
the human eye is a sensitive issue that some users find uncomfortable. Voice recognition systems are very cost-effective but often
exhibit unacceptably high false rejection rates stemming from illness, hoarseness,
or other throat problems. Fingerprint recognition is generally
considered a very practical choice for its reliability, non-intrusive
interfaces, and cost-effectiveness.
10. Identification vs. Verification
There are two primary functions offered by any biometric system.
One is identification, a one-to-many (1:M) matching process wherein
a biometric sample is compared to a set of stored samples in a
database. The other is verification, a one-to-one (1:1) matching
process in which the biometric system compares an individual's
biometric sample to previously enrolled data for that user. The
process of verification narrows the biometric database search
by including other identifiers such as names or IDs. The terms
"verification" and "authentication" are sometimes used interchangeably
because both terms are used primarily to establish a specific
user's validity rather than to identify users by querying an entire
database of biometric samples.
Any systematic method of confirming the identity of an individual.
Some methods are more secure than others. Simple authentication
methods include user name and password, while more secure methods
include token-based one-time passwords. The most secure authentication
methods include layered "multimodal" biometric procedures.
This is independent of authorization.
12. FAR and FRR
Most modern biometric security systems can be fine-tuned to fit
the needs of either high security or low security environments.
Increasing security in biometric systems sometimes makes them
more finicky, resulting in an increased False Rejection Rate (FRR)
- this is manifested when a registered user's biometric data (e.g.
fingerprint minutiae data) is rejected by the system. In these
cases, emphasis on ambient lighting, climate, or user training
may be needed. The net effect of FRR is usually nothing more than
inconvenience to users. However, if security is set too low, the
False Acceptance Rate (FAR) may increase. This is potentially
far more serious, since it involves an unauthorized person gaining
access to protected resources. The FAR and FRR vary widely among
different types and makes of biometric systems.
13. Expected Growth
The Internet has become a permanent fixture in the lives of millions
worldwide. The range of transactions now performed online runs
the gamut of our daily living, and the stores never close. From
routine banking to booking hotel reservations, from Wall Street
to your retirement fund, the modern business offers online services
to stay competitive.
The ballooning growth in electronic transactions has resulted
in greater demands for fast and accurate user identification and
authentication methods. Biometric technology is now being deployed
as a means of tightening security and simplifying user access
in a landscape once guarded only by expensive firewalls and easily
cracked passwords, subject to configuration issues, human error,
Fingerprints are among the least intrusive and most reliable
biometrics in use, generally considered the best choice for speed,
accuracy, and cost-effectiveness. Advances in technology occur
at a lightning pace, changing the way we do things at home and
at work. Increasingly we find ourselves struggling to retain mastery
of a host of constantly evolving technologies and services.
After years of research and development, biometric security systems
are now in the forefront of modern security. Although public acceptance
has lagged behind expectations for certain biometric applications,
many concerns have been dispelled through persistent engagement
and education, particularly in the area of fingerprint recognition.