Biometrics eliminates the danger of a password being stolen, or as is more common, a password being used without proper authorisation. Biometrics can reduce the problem of corporate risk associated with a supervisor "loaning" his badge to an associate to gain unauthorised access.
With the vast number of systems and the associated passwords, forgotten passwords and their problems could be reduced. Estimates suggest that between 25 to 50 % of all calls to help-desks are caused by forgotten passwords and cost $25 and $50 each(Leyden). When a worker loans his password to another worker to gain access to protected information on a one-time basis, that password has been breached. Biometrics eliminates the risk and assures that access to any entryway, file, or account can only be granted to authorised personnel. Biometrics also has a future in a wide range of applications where it is essential to identify the subject such as credit transactions and health care records.
Biometric applications are almost always used to prevent the unauthorised access to sensitive data. Since the early 1980s, systems of identification and authentication based on physical characteristics have been available. These systems were slow and expensive. Twenty years later, computers are faster and cheaper and have renewed the interest in biometrics (Kay).
Biometrics may be used in conjunction with smart card technology to gain access to a bank account to transfer funds. This eliminates the threat of unwanted intrusion, as can be the case with a PIN number. The added security verifies the account that is protected, and the biometric information can also be used as a legal verification in the same way we use signed documents.
With the increased need for a central medical database for medical records has come the controversy surrounding the unauthorised use and access of the information. Biometrics can verify the request for the records has come from an authorised source and minimise the opportunity for the records to be compromised. Biometrics can also be applied to portable devices, such as laptops, to prevent stolen devices from being accessed with pre-boot biometric authorisation. This can be applied to cell phones and PDAs as well. Though there may not be a foolproof method, biometrics does make it more difficult. According to Jamie Fenton in PC World, "The devices are not error-free, so they're best suited for businesses that need another safeguard for standard or somewhat sensitive data "
Wireless devices are especially appropriate for the application of biometrics. Biometrics can be used to prevent unauthorised use of communications devices such as cell phones as well as police, emergency, and defence department networks. As an ever-increasing number of wireless devices are connected to corporate networks, the need for security becomes imperative. With smaller and less expensive devices, the advancement of biometrics can assure that the implementation of wireless will be done with a minimum of risk(DigitalPersona).
Voice recognition is another popular application in wireless communication devices. It is most widely used to place calls, or perform routines based on voice recognition. It allows for hands free operation and is generally applied for safety concerns. Though it can suffer from reliability issues, there is