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What is a Biometric Laptop?

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  • Written By: Patrick Roland
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 26 August 2016
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For people interested in securing important computer information, a biometric laptop is the best choice. Whereas most computers are protected by one or more passwords, these laptops require data that is nearly impossible to hack. Biometric security, which requires a fingerprint, iris scan or voice recognition, is a rising phenomenon in computers. A biometric laptop's added protection is a nice feature, but its high-tech security system is not without its problems.

Having a fingerprint reader is the most prominent type of biometric laptop security. This is a small window near the bottom of a keyboard or even embedded in a mouse that acts just like a scanner, but it scans fingerprints. Users save fingerprint scans in a security database and set the security just like they would for a written password. To gain control of the computer, the user simply applies a finger to the scanner, and it reads the unique traits of that print in order to grant access.

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A less common but equally protective form of security for a biometric laptop is the iris scan. This usually involves a small scanner that is external from the computer. Like the fingerprint scanner, the user places an eye to this camera and lets it scan the iris, saving it to a database within the computer. When the user wants to start the computer, he or she is prompted to put an eye to the scanner, and when the iris matches the database, the computer will grant the user access. If there is no match, that person will be denied.

Another form of biometric laptop security is voice recognition. This feature is the least common of the three because it is the easiest to forge. Where the other two take raw human characteristics, this biometric device memorizes aspects of a voice's tone, timber and sound. If the user's voice matches the stored criteria, the security system allows him or her to use that biometric laptop.

These biometric laptop security features provide an added layer of security for users, but they also have problems that simple text-based passwords do not. The voice recognition software often does not recognize the user's speech if they are not speaking clearly enough, and this can cause a great deal of frustration. Iris scanners provide a high level of security but can be expensive and delicate. Fingerprint scanners do not memorize the exact fingerprint but rather a series of points on a print and therefore are prone to many false negatives, sometimes preventing the correct person from gaining access.

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