Biometrics Glossary

Active Impostor Acceptance

When an impostor submits a modified, simulated or reproduced biometric sample, intentionally attempting to relate it to another person who is an enrollee, and is incorrectly identified or verified by a biometric system as being that enrollee.

Authentication

The process of comparing a submitted biometric sample against the biometric reference template of a single enrollee whose identity is being claimed, to determine whether it matches the enrollee’s template. Contrast with ‘Identification.’ The preferred biometric term is ‘Verification.’

Automatic ID/Auto ID

An umbrella term for any biometric system or other security technology that uses automatic means to check identity. This applies to both one-to-one verification and one-to-many identification.

Behavioral Biometric

A biometric which is characterized by a behavioral trait that is learned and acquired over time rather than a physiological characteristic.

Biometric Taxonomy

A method of classifying biometrics. For example, San Jose State University’s (SJSU) biometric taxonomy uses partitions to classify the role of biometrics within a given biometric application. An application may be classified as:

Cooperative vs. Non-Cooperative User

Overt vs. Covert Biometric System Habituated vs. Non-Habituated User Supervised vs. Unsupervised User Standard Environment vs. Non Standard Environment

Closed-Set Identification

When an unidentified end-user is known to be enrolled in the biometric system. Opposite of ‘Open-Set Identification.’

Crossover Rate

Synonym for ‘Equal Error Rate.’

D Prime

A statistical measure of how well a biometric system can discriminate between different individuals. The larger the D Prime value, the better a biometric system is at discriminating between individuals.

Degrees of Freedom

The number of statistically independent features in biometric data.

Enrollee

A person who has a biometric reference template on file.

Enrollment

The process of collecting biometric samples from a person and the subsequent preparation and storage of biometric reference templates representing that person’s identity.

Enrollment Time

The time period a person must spend to have his/her biometric reference template successfully created.

Equal Error Rate

When the decision threshold of a system is set so that the proportion of false rejections will be approximately equal to the proportion of false acceptances. A synonym is ‘Crossover Rate.’

Failure to Acquire

Failure of a biometric system to capture and extract biometric data.

Failure to Acquire Rate

The frequency of a failure to acquire.

False Acceptance

When a biometric system incorrectly identifies an individual or incorrectly verifies an impostor against a claimed identity. Also known as a Type II error.

False Acceptance Rate/FAR

The probability that a biometric system will incorrectly identify an individual or will fail to reject an impostor. Also known as the Type II error rate. It is stated as follows:

FAR = NFA / NIIA or FAR = NFA / NIVA where FAR is the false acceptance rate NFA is the number of false acceptances NIIA is the number of impostor identification attempts NIVA is the number of impostor verification attempts

False Match Rate

Alternative to ‘False Acceptance Rate’. Used to avoid confusion in applications that reject the claimant if their biometric data matches that of an enrollee. In such applications, the concepts of acceptance and rejection are reversed, thus reversing the meaning of ‘False Acceptance’ and ‘False Rejection.’ See also ‘False Non-Match Rate.’

False Non-Match Rate

Alternative to ‘False Rejection Rate’. Used to avoid confusion in applications that reject the claimant if their biometric data matches that of an enrollee. In such applications, the concepts of acceptance and rejection are reversed, thus reversing the meaning of ‘False Acceptance’ and ‘False Rejection.’ See also ‘False Match Rate.’

False Rejection

When a biometric system fails to identify an enrollee or fails to verify the legitimate claimed identity of an enrollee. Also known as a Type I error.

False Rejection Rate/FRR

The probability that a biometric system will fail to identify an enrollee, or verify the legitimate claimed identity of an enrollee. Also known as a Type I error rate. It is stated as follows:

FRR = NFR / NEIA or FRR = NFR / NEVA where FRR is the false rejection rate NFR is the number of false rejections NEIA is the number of enrollee identification attempts NEVA is the number of enrollee verification attempts

Field Test

A trial of a biometric application in ‘real world,’ as opposed to laboratory, conditions.

Goats

Biometric system end users whose pattern of activity when interfacing with the system varies beyond the specified range allowed by the system, and who consequently may be falsely rejected by the system.

H

Impostor

A person who submits a biometric sample in either an intentional or inadvertent attempt to pass him/herself off as another person who is an enrollee.

In-House Test

A test carried out entirely within the environs of the biometric developer which may or may not involve external user participation.

J
K

Live Capture

The process of capturing a biometric sample by an interaction between an end user and a biometric system.

Match/Matching

The process of comparing a biometric sample against a previously stored template and scoring the level of similarity. An accept or reject decision is then based upon whether this score exceeds the given threshold.

N

One-To-Many

Synonym for ‘Identification.’

One-To-One

Synonym for ‘Verification.’

Open-Set Identification

Identification, when it is possible that the individual is not enrolled in the biometric system. Opposite of ‘Closed-Set Identification.’

Out Of Set

In open-set identification, when the individual is not enrolled in the biometric system.

Passive Impostor Acceptance

When an impostor submits his/her own biometric sample and claiming the identity of another person (either intentionally or inadvertently) he/she is incorrectly identified or verified by a biometric system. Compare with ‘Active Impostor Acceptance.’

Performance Criteria

Pre-determined criteria established to evaluate the performance of the biometric system under test.

Physical/Physiological Biometric

A biometric which is characterized by a physical characteristic rather than a behavioral trait.

Q

Receiver Operating Curves

A graph showing how the false rejection rate and false acceptance rate vary according to the threshold.

Recognition

The preferred term is ‘Identification’.

Response Time

The time period required by a biometric system to return a decision on identification or verification of a biometric sample.

s

Template/Reference Template

Data which represents the biometric measurement of an enrollee used by a biometric system for comparison against subsequently submitted biometric samples.

Third Party Test

An objective test, independent of a biometric vendor, usually carried out entirely within a test laboratory in controlled environmental conditions.

Threshold/Decision Threshold

The acceptance or rejection of biometric data is dependent on the match score falling above or below the threshold. The threshold is adjustable so that the biometric system can be more or less strict, depending on the requirements of any given biometric application.

Throughput Rate

The number of end users that a biometric system can process within a stated time interval.

Type I Error

See ‘False Rejection.’

Type II Error

See ‘False Acceptance.’

User

The client to any biometric vendor. The user must be differentiated from the end user and is responsible for managing and implementing the biometric application rather than actually interacting with the biometric system.

Validation

The process of demonstrating that the system under consideration meets in all respects the specification of that system.

Verification/Verify

The process of comparing a submitted biometric sample against the biometric reference template of a single enrollee whose identity is being claimed, to determine whether it matches the enrollee’s template. Contrast with ‘Identification.’

W
X
Y

Zero Effort Forgery

An arbitrary attack on a specific enrollee identity in which the impostor masquerades as the claimed enrollee using his or her own biometric sample.


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