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A burgeoning bevy of biometric barriers

Biometric access control was one of the hot themes among exhibitors at the recent RSA Security Conference in San Francisco. Several companies showed off their wares, which include a back-end system for integrating biometric authentication into existing systems as well as readers for fingerprints and palms.

Passwords are not the best of security solutions, as enterprises and individual users have found over the years. They can be cracked or stolen, and not necessarily by high-tech means either.

Often, passwords created by end users in corporations are simple, being based on numbers significant to them: their birth dates, wedding anniversaries, birth dates of their loved ones, their auto licenses plates or a combination of these.

Or, where the passwords are created by the system administrator, end users tend to leave them exposed. "You'll see Post-it notes on users' computer screens with their passwords, or the Post-its are stuck under the table," Chris Collier, vice president, identity solutions, at IdentiPHI, told TechNewsWorld.

Increasingly, enterprises are looking to biometric solutions -- fingerprint, palm or retina scanning among them -- to secure access to their computers.

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