Fingerprint for Access Control

Author: Brian Rhodes, Published on Feb 03, 2013

Despite being touted as the next big thing for access control, fingerprint readers struggle to dethrone traditional manufactured credentials as "the" standard. Despite the promise of high-tech readers making credentials as unique and secure as individual identites, real engineering challenges exist. In this note, we examine how fingerprint readers are best used for access control.

Key Considerations

**** ********* *** ******** "*** ***'* ** *** *********** ******* more *****?" ******* ***** ******* ****** *****. * ***** ****** of ********* ******* ******* ***** ********** ********:

  • ****: *********** ******* ****** **** **** ******** ** '******' ********* proximity-type *******.
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  • ******* *********** ******: *** *** ******* *** ******** ** ***** *******.

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** *** ******* *****, ** ******** *** ***** *********** ******* 'traditional' ********* ***** ******* **** ********* *********** *******.

****

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  • *********** ******: ********* ****** ****~$******
  • ********* ******: *** ********* **** **** ****~$*****

**** *** ******** ** **** *** * *********** ******* ** ~10 ***** **** ********* **** ** ********** ********* ******, **** end-users *** *** *** **** ****** ******. **** **** ******** the ********** ***** ** ********** ***** (******* $*.** - $* each), *** ********* ****** ** ************* **** *********.

Strip ** *******

*** *** *********** ******* *** *** ****. **** **** ********** devices, ******* ********** **** *****. *** ******** ******* **** *****************-***** *********** *********** **********-***** ********** *** *** **** ** ****** ********** ****.

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  • ******* ******:**** ***** ** ****** ***** *********** **** **** ***** *******, but ***** * ****** ** * ***-****** *****, ******** ******** to **** ************ *** ******* **** ** *******. *** ****** collects ** '*****' ** *** ******, ***** ** **** ** a ********* *** ********** ** * ******* ** ******. *** end ****** ** **** ******* ******* ** ****** **** ******** reads, *** ******** *** ****** ****** ** ****** ********* **** harsh *******. ***** **** ******* *** **** ** ******* ******* perimeter ********, ******* **** ***** ** ****** ******** ** ********* and ** ***** ** ****-*** *********.

**** ***** ** ******* *** **** ** ********** ********. *******, most ********** ********* *** *** *** ******* ******* ******* *** higher ****, ** ** * - * ***** **** ***************** ***** *******. (**: ~$*** *** ********** **** *** ~$*** **** ** optical-based *******) ***-***** ******* ****** ** *****, ** **** **** tight *******, *** ****** *** ******* ********. *******, ************* *** practical *********** ** ****** *********** *** *** *********** ******* ** the *****, ** *********. *** ***** ***** ***** * '************* strip' ***** **** ******:


Backup ***********

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******* ****** ******* ******, *** ******* ** ******** ************ ** weather *** *** ***** ****, * ********** *********** **** ****** always **** *****. **** ***** **** **** **** ** ********* credential **** **** ** ***** *** ***. ******* **** ** a ****, ***, ** * ********** ***, *** **** ** carry ******* **** ********** ** ** ********* ********.

****

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*** ***** *** *** ** *********** ******** ** *********** ********** delays, *** *** ***** ********* ***** ** ** **** ******* when * **** ** ******** ** * ****** ****, *********** outside ** **** ** **** ************. ******** ** *** **** instantaneous ******* ** ******* *** ********* * ********** ****, *********** scanners **** * ************.

Environmental ******

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***** **** ****** *********** *******, ***** *** '********' ************** ** well. *** *******, ******** *********** **** ****** **** ** ** removed ** ***** ** **** * *****. ***** * ***** consideration, **** **** ** **** ************ ****** ***** ** ****** gloves ****** ***** ** ********** ******. ** ********, ****** ******** a ******* ***** *** *********** ** ******* ****, ********, *** without **** ** ****** **** ** *** ******* ** ************, and **** ********* ***** ******* *** ********* ** '******' ********* that ** *** *** *********** ****, ***** ****** **** ********* to ***** *******.

Most ****** ************

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'*****-****** **************' ******** **** **** * ****** ********** ** **** *****. For *******, **** * *********** **********, **** ****** **'* **************** tied ** *** ******, ****** *** **** ** ** *** gain ******. *******, **** **********, *** **** ** * ***** credential ********, *** ********* '*****' **** *** *** *** ****** issued *** **** ** **** *****-*******. *** ****-******** *********, **** extra **** ** ********** ********** ****** ** ******* ******, *** is ***** *********** ******* *** **** ***** ****.

Special ************

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  • ******* ****** / ***:******* *****-** ***** ** ************, ********* *** *** *** *********** lengthy ******* ** ******** ***** ********.
  • ********* **********: ** ***** ** ******** ********, * **** **** **** a *********** **** ******* *** '******** ** ****-** ********' ****. This ******** ** ********** ********* ***** ******* ** ******** ** a *********** ***** ***** *** **** ******.
  • ****-******* *******: *** *********** ** *** ******** **** ******* ****** ** drop *** *** **** ** ********* ***** ** *********** **.

Comments (21)

Couple of observations: We we were made aware of a firm that removed fingerprint access scanners because of the employees perceived concerns over sanitary (ie: flu) issues. While I chuckled upon first hearing it, it could be a real issue. (I type this as I am recovering from a week long bout with it myself)

Second: We've installed the J reader from Sagem Morphotrak in a few places and their one to many read time is very good. No real latency that the end user would be frustrated by.

Same issue

Customer's employee's had same (ie: flu, colds ) finger reader issues.

Lucky, the reader was a prox and/or finger access card reader(dual tech).

customer assigned cards as needed.

Hello John:

Thanks for the real-world feedback. I have heard, but never really understood the push behind objecting to fingerprints on a santiary basis.

Of course, I understand numerous nasty sicknesses are communicable, (I wish you a quick recovery!) but after touching my finger to a reader, most of the time I must immediately grab a handle with my whole hand to open the door. Interestingly, ASSA sells hardware with a 'germ-proof coating' for this very reason.

I'm all for maintaining cleanliness and antiseptic surfaces, but objecting to fingerprint readers because they help spread disease is a little strong for me.

Thanks for feedback on the read time. For reference, how many users are enrolled in the system?

a couple of hundred at both sites. One is a fraternity house at a college and they initiated the request because they feared the rowdy boys forgetting their credentials after a large evening. Cost more on the front end, but graduating 50 and pledging 50 each year, assuming the credentials aren't reissued, means a pretty good cost savings just in cards.

'large evening'. You make it sound polite!

I haven't used finger readers for security, but I have used them for a time clock system. After spending about 7 months troubleshooting them a can tell you this.

we have about 250 users enrolled in the system. Our goal was a single factor authentication. Out of the 25O there are about 15 that no matter what I do can't get enrolled. For some reason the system doesn't see or read their finger. In addition to that about 10-15% have issues on a regular basis.

im about to pull them out and just use prox cards. Very frustrating.

Josh Ennis thanks for the real world numbers. Were those optical or semiconductor scanners?

We have used finger print readers as a dual authentication for corrections staff to get keys out of keysafes. They worked well when used with a 'smart' card that held the users unique algorithm, this meant a 1 to 1 read which kept authentication down to around 1 second. Problem was the readers were a semiconductor type that didnt take kindly to wet fingerprints(rainy days). There was also some confusion from the end user who did not realise that there is always a quantity of people that this technology did not work well with (around 1-2%) Numbers enrolled were approx 800 with around 10 - 15 users that regularly had issues.

We use Suprema from Entertech as well as Morpho and have not had too many issues. 1eg. come to mind though, 1 Client with 3 locations, 100s of prints from ea. site and only the one maintenance guy having issue. His hands are so worned out, you almost can't enroll his fingers (very difficult) They had the brilliant idea of having him cream/moisturize his hands... BAD If you give too good of a print (too many points) to the enrolled fingerprint, the reader will be looking for a high quality print which will never happen unless he does the same everytime he would like his fingerprints read at the reader... Just an FYI

One recommendation is do not cheap out on fingerprint readers as you will get what you pay for... Some T&A Fingerprint readers are terrible, bad quality, so we go with the real deal and use an ACS to manage it. What brand did you use Josh Ennis?

Regarding to backup credentials, normally our devices can capture all of your 10 fingerprints under your account during enrolment. So you will use any of the “healthy” fingers to verify your identity. Unless all of them 10 fingers are injured then you will need to use card or password as backup credentials, but very minimal cases.

The current system and algorithm can store up to 10000 fingerprint images into its memory. The verification takes approximately 2 second to verify your fingerprint out of 10000 stored fingerprint images.

Our gym uses an optical "back of the hand" reader; it's not very accurate, and pretty frustrating. Probably 1/5 of the time members have to tailgate in to the facility with another member who had success with the reader that morning.

Another negative is employee privacy issues. I have one client where the union vitoed the installation of fingerprint biometrics based on the storage of fingerprint scans and the potential for them to be used for other purposes. For this reason the client ended up going with facial recognition.

Just goes to reiterate my previous comment

Probably most widely used place with fingerprint scanners is DMV.

Love the down to earth practicality of this report. I wonder if the technology will ever become cheap enough, and accurate/quick enough to merit its own single credential system.

The pricing example used was a bit outdated as the entire Bioscript line has been discontinued by Safran. They (Morpho) have released new models called the SIGMA Lite versions that cut that cost in half. There are others in the bio space that offer reliable readers in the $200 range...XPR from Belgium is one to consider, small units with plenty of power.

Were the Suprema and Morpho readers used outdoor? I am looking to install fingerprint readers on turnstiles at the entrances of a Labor Accommodation Campus. Problem I see are - outdoor environment (dust/humidity), low quality finger imprints (dirty, oily, cuts, etc.), read time and so on. Reader needs to be reliable while being not so expensive as well.

I recently assisted in installing palm readers for car dealership employees to clock in and out for there shifts. iI dont know any specifics on these readers but i'm interested to see how well they hold up, especially in the service department with all the dirt and grease.

Most technologies have a sweet spot. I’ll share a couple of misses I’ve been asked to help with.

1. High security data center access from outdoors. Wanted fingerprint readers in a -30 to -40 environment.

2. Entrance and exit from a government lab that worked on extremely contagious diseases and compounds. Place finger, forget glove, remove glove, place finger again. What could go wrong?

DMV got my print right on the 7th try. Not bad!

I’m sure there are others.

We often wrestle with our athletics group because they desire biometric readers (who carries a card when they are practicing and getting hot, sweaty?) rather than using their smart cards. Conversely, some want to use minimalist PIN readers which cannot be programmed into our centralized system. Is there a happy medium?!

There are networked PIN readers. Could that be an option?

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