THE MAGAZINE

Vein Pattern Recognition: A Privacy-Enhancing Biometric

By Chuck Wilson; Reviewed by Ben Rothke, CISSP

***** Vein Pattern Recognition: A Privacy-Enhancing Biometric. By Chuck Wilson; published by Taylor & Francis Group/CRC Press, www.crcpress.com; 307 pages; $79.85.
 
Vein pattern recognition (VPR), also called vascular pattern recognition, is one of many available biometric authentication technologies. VPR uses infrared light to create images of the blood vessels on various parts of a person’s hand, fingers, or palm. It is an effective biometric since the vein patterns of the human body are unique to a specific individual and do not change as people age.
 
From a biometric perspective, it is an attractive option since it is difficult to forge and does not require contact with subjects’ bodies. In Vein Pattern Recognition: A Privacy-Enhancing Biometric, author Chuck Wilson provides a comprehensive over­view of the various options in biometric authentication, with an emphasis around VPR.
 
Wilson takes a balanced approach to the topic. Even though many vendors tout VPR as the best of all biometric technologies, Wilson notes that the technology is but one of many elements necessary for robust identity verification.
A primary benefit of VPR biometrics is that it is contactless. This is a huge concern as many users are reticent to use a biometric they feel is intrusive.
 
Chapter Five is especially insightful, detailing the various uses of VPR biometrics and how it has seen significant use in Japan, especially in the financial sector for identity verification.
 
While Wilson is clearly a fan of biometrics, he does not see biometrics as the foolproof end-all security solution. Chapter Six details biometric solutions’ limitations and the methods by which biometrics can be circumvented.
 
The book notes that VPR, like many biometric technologies, has the potential to increase security and protect privacy. But that can only be done if the biometric solution is properly deployed. Vein Pattern Recognition can show you how to do that, and it is an excellent reference to anyone who wants to get a handle on the various types of biometric technologies.
 

Reviewer: Ben Rothke, CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional), CISA (Certified Information Systems Auditor), is a senior security consultant with BT Global Services.

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