Biometrics is looming as the next big thing in IT security and user authentication, essentially replacing the password, which can be stolen or forgotten, with a fingerprint or a heart beat pattern.

Yet while biometric authentication appears safer and more convenient it hasn't yet been perfected as hackers have been able to circumvent fingerprint sensors.

So the best approach, say some experts, will likely be the use of a combination of biometric sensors such as a fingerprint, a heart beat pattern and the eye vein pattern.

"Two specific modalities receiving a lot of attention (and investment) lately are heart beat signature and eye vein pattern," Mark Cornett, chief operating officer at NexID Biometrics, told Tech Times. "Nymi seems to be the early leader in the former modality and Eye Verify the latter."

While different types of biometric authentication methods are sure to pop up, that still might not be enough for real security. One strategy taking root is sensors that can provide continuous authentication methods. For example, if a fingerprint sensor was integrated into the display of a phone, it could authenticate the user each time that user touched the display.

"I would predict the combined use of existing sensor technologies to provide continuous, multimodal authentication, especially on mobile devices," says Cornett. "As fingerprint sensors become integrated into the entire display, the user's screen surfing can regularly capture portions of the digit used for interacting with the screen. Additionally, the microphone and camera can periodically capture samples of those biometrics, again to provide continuous authentication."

One company, Descartes Biometrics, is even investigating the shape of an ear as a method of authentication. Just like no two people have the same fingerprint, no two people apparently have the same exact ear shape, either. This type of authentication still has a long way to go before actual deployment, as does the possibility of using the human nose as an authentication point. But both pose potential for better security ahead and that's a good thing.

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