Using Present Card Readers, Organizations Can Now Easily Add Biometrics

Using Present Card Readers, Organizations Can Now Easily Add Biometrics

Without having to change out an organization’s existing readers, the biometric card provides an easy, low cost way for facilities to provide a biometric upgrade

More and more, security professionals using card-based front ends for their access control systems have been worried about the security of their proximity systems. They know that for $200 or less, their proximity system can be violated.

A convenient way to establish higher security within certain areas of a building is an appealing idea to many security directors. Whether it is to more highly secure the pharmacy lab at a hospital, the laboratory at a government research facility or the tarmac at a small airport, some locations simply need to have more scrutiny paid to who is entering. Going beyond the card only—something they carry—and adding a PIN—something they know, many organizations employ multi-factor authentication at such locations. But, even that is done irregularly as this often means a different reader is needed. Yet even when this is undertaken, somebody else can use still use another employee’s card and PIN.

Only biometrics provides the solution for authenticating “who” is at the door. In the perfect world of large budgets, facilities would have a biometrics reader at every door that would need higher security. Of course, that would mean ripping out the present card readers and having to budget the money for new biometric readers plus the make the investment of making sure that the biometric integrates into their present access control system.

Some suggest that this can be done with a smart card. After all, the multi-application flexibility of contactless smart cards lets a facility use them for logical/ information access control, time and attendance and other applications in addition to physical access control. Each application gets its own memory space on the card or tag and security keys prevent one application from accessing another. For those considering biometrics at some of their access points, the card can even hold the biometric template.

Nonetheless, there still remains a problem with the smart card. Who is presenting the smart card to the reader? The system doesn’t know. All it can understand is that an authorized card has been presented to the reader. Thus, the door should open, respective of who is holding the card.

Yet, a biometric template carried within the card could help solve that problem, but at what expense? To do so, it still needs a biometric reader, an additional piece of hardware, raising the infrastructure cost to do what the card should be doing in the first place: verifying who is trying to enter.

Why Not Put Biometrics Directly on the Smartcard?

There would be no additional hardware to buy and the proximity or smart card wouldn’t work unless verified by the authorized person’s thumbprint on the card. With a biometric card, the facility would reap all of the security and access control advantages of the smartcard plus biometrics.

That solution is now available. A contactless card credential, which works with proximity and/or smart card readers, with on-card fingerprint reading is available to provide all the assets of the card and eliminate its most glaring deficiency, not knowing who is holding it. The biometric card quickly reads the user’s fingerprint in less than a second.

Eliminating the problems of solely deploying PINs and standard cards, the wirelessly powered biometric card lets users authenticate themselves directly on the card through something they are, a fingerprint or thumbprint. Only then will the card system activate the lock. This is much more secure than simply using a standard card, which verifies only something the user carries.

An on-card fingerprint scanner with 3D capacitive technology resides on the contactless smart card which has universal compatibility with all ISO 14443 readers from the leading brands. The biometric card is DESFIRE EV1 and MIFARE Classic compatible. Without having to change out an organization’s existing readers, the biometric card provides an easy, low cost way for organizations to provide a biometric upgrade to access control systems using proximity or smart card readers.

Thus, the biometric card is more secure to use than other available ID and authentication solutions on the market today. The fingerprint data is captured by the on-card fingerprint scanner and is thereafter encrypted and stored only inside the card. No exchange of data is conducted with external systems. This provides secure template management since the fingerprint never leaves the card. It also eliminates user concerns with privacy issues.

The card is unique to the user and only the authorized card holder can activate card communication with the reader. When a positive match occurs, the biometric card activates encrypted communication with the lock or reader in the same way as other ISO 14443 contactless proximity or smart cards.

Problem Solved

No longer do security administrators need to worry if someone not authorized to enter is using another person’s ID card. With the biometric directly on the card, they can be assured that the only people getting in are those authorized to do so.

This article originally appeared in the issue of .

About the Author

Kim Humborstad is the CEO of Zwipe.

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