What is the Difference Between Physiological and Behavioral Biometrics?

December 8, 2022     |    3 minute read

What is the Difference Between Physiological and Behavioral Biometrics

December 8, 2022     |    3 minute read

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If you’ve ever unlocked your mobile device with your finger or scanned your face to see how much money is in your bank then you have already used biometrics. Biometrics  fall into one of two categories: physiological and behavioral.

A person’s fingerprint, which is the most common biometric used in the world today to identify a person, is categorized as a “physiological” biometric indicator, which is a specific physical pattern on a person’s body. A scan of the same person’s face, or facial biometrics, is also a physiological biometric.  Facial biometrics can be segmented to show other physiological biometric sensors like the width of a person’s eyes apart from one another or the shape of their nose. Physiological biometric data is analyzed with things like facial recognition and fingerprint readers – items that are fairly commonplace on mobile devices like smart phones, laptops, and tablets.

A person’s voice is a “behavioral” biometric indicator which are specific patterns that are related to an individual’s actions. Though there are some crossovers to physical traits, behavioral biometric indicators are increasingly being used in digital applications to determine who a person is based on a set of patterns created by how they behave. Many of today’s organizations in a myriad of industries that have a digital presence will look at behavioral characteristics like scrolling on a web page with a mouse, swiping on a web page to indicate mobile browsing, or what a person “clicks on” as a method of biometric recognition that can help build a profile of a person’s identity.

Advantages of Biometric Authentication

Biometric authentication has a number of advantages:

  1. High Security and Assurance – Biometric identification provides the answers to a “who a person is” and helps verify identity
  2. User Experience – Convenient and fast
  3. Flexibility – Elimination of passwords
  4. Non-Transferable – Everyone has a unique set of biometrics

High Security and Assurance

Biometrics provide increased levels of assurance to providers that a person is real by verifying a tangible trait as both something the user has and something the user is. Contrary, passwords/PINs and personal identifying information can easily be compromised with a data breach by individuals trained at fraudulent activity. Biometric authentication adds a roadblock for fraudsters. While a fraudster could figure out your password is your birthday or your pet’s name, they cannot replicate your fingerprint.  Additionally, biometric security can only be provided by a living, breathing person because presently robots cannot pass an iris scan.

User Experience is Convenient and Fast

While the backend process for biometric authentication is sophisticated and highly technical, from a user’s point of view it’s incredibly easy and quick. Placing a finger on a scanner and unlocking an account in seconds is faster than typing out a long password that has multiple special characters. In addition, forgetting a password is a common mistake of most users. The chances of you forgetting your own biometrics is non-existent.

Flexibility

Biometrics uses physical traits for authentication rather than having to remember passwords or pins.  Most smartphones incorporate a form of biometrics for authentication for unlocking the phone.  Furthermore, many apps today also incorporate biometrics that help user secure and protect their data.

Non-Transferable

You cannot transfer or share a physical biometric digitally.  The only way to utilize most biometric authentication systems is with a physical application, therefore, it is safer and secure.

To conclude, biology is primarily qualitative and metrics are quantitative. And these two concepts that are essentially not harmonious, come together to provide an authentication system that creates safety and security in the digital world.  Many experts today argue that because biometrics identifiers are unique to everyone, biometric identification is ultimately more secure than traditional passwords, two-factor authentication, and knowledge-based answers.  Essentially, biometrics continue to make our everyday life more efficient and our data more safe and secure.

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