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FingerPass: Web-based Authentication using Fingerprint Biometrics

Despite their widespread use, conventional passwords are unreliable as an authentication medium because they can be stolen, shared, or guessed.  The more sensitive and valuable your digital assets are, the more imperative it is to deploy stronger authentication schemes. Biometric authentication schemes are currently widely recognized as the strongest authentication technologies available on the market.

Among existing biometric technologies, fingerprint and iris scans are considered the strongest in terms stability and accuracy. A fingerprint is the pattern of ridges and valleys on the surface of a fingertip, which can be captured using a fingerprint scanner. Today the costs of fingerprint scanners have come down dramatically and many computers are coming with embedded fingerprint scanners with extremely low marginal costs.


Because of the need for a scanner to capture fingerprint samples, fingerprint-based biometric authentication has been considered adequate for intranets, private networks or segments where such devices are readily available. However, in today’s evolving business environments where telecommuters and mobile workers represent a sizable portion of the workforce, many organizations are feeling the pressure to expose an increasing number of sensitive resources and services on the Internet for their employees and partners to use. This requires making strong authentication schemes such as fingerprint-based biometric available through a browser.

FingerPass implements a web plug-in for fingerprint-based biometric authentication.  The plug-in is a client-side object that loads in a user’s web browser when the browser encounters an HTML tag containing the plug-in’s identifier.

To access some protected web pages, the user types his username in the browser and positions his finger on the reader. The plug-in collects the typed username along with the fingerprint image captured by the scanner and sends them to the web server. The web server validates the received information with the fingerprint verification module by matching the captured sample against the fingerprint template stored in the database. Based on the result, the user is either redirected to the requested page (in case of success) or to a page indicating the failed login attempt.

FingerPass ensures that all communications between the client and the server are protected using strong encryption: the plugin provides an AES encryption system to send and receive data securely.

FingerPass is compatible with all the existing major browsers, including Internet Explorer, Chrome, and FireFox.