Perhaps you are considering upgrading your home to a smart security system. Adding a new front door biometric lock can possibly enhance your home’s security. But what are they exactly? Read more to find out.
What Are Biometric Door Locks?
Biometrics are being increasingly incorporated into different types of security systems as the digital age progresses.
They Use A Form of Cryptography
Doors are the main entry point to a person’s room or house, so having a strong and functioning lock is crucial. Cryptography is used today to protect huge amounts of personal data and prevent unauthorized personnel to access it on devices and networks. Biometric door locks utilize a form of cryptography to secure them.
They use Biometric Markers
Biometric locks are systems that grant access to authorized individuals by using their unique biometric markers. This can include characteristics of a person’s fingerprint, voice, or eye. For most people who install a biometric front door lock, the access marker will be their fingerprint.
Biometric markers are nature’s way of making each person unique and verifiable. Only letting these to unlock digital storage, online account(s), or physical locations is an excellent way to enhance security systems.
Biometric Door Locks Are Old Technology
Biometric door locks, particularly fingerprint locks, are actually a fairly old system and used largely across industry and government installations. It is only recently that they have become used in the consumer space.
Fingerprint Door Locks
The human fingerprint is fixed for the individual’s life and is extremely difficult to copy or effectively alter. This makes them unlikely to be mimicked by another person (although possible). Biometric door locks will only open when the correct fingerprint matches the authorized individual(s).
How Do Biometric Locks Work?
Fingerprint biometric door locks scan a person’s fingerprint and convert it into data where it is then compared to a stored template.
If a person tries to unlock the door that does not have a saved data template for their fingerprint, then the door will not open.
Fingerprint details, which include the minuscule friction ridges, are stored in memory the first time you set the lock. New fingerprint scans are compared to this template data. A matched fingerprint will usually turn on a green LED light on the lock and the door can then be opened. The speed of this process is very fast, almost instantaneous.
Key Components of Fingerprint Door Locks
There are several components that every door lock should have to provide the most benefit to users. These include:
- Mechanical key slot (in case of power failure).
- Made of strong materials like brass or steel.
- Effective power supply (battery or connected to building power supply).
- A variable number of fingerprints it can store (for many users).
Benefits of Biometric Door Locks
Doors that have locks that require keys work fine, but biometric locks may be better for several reasons. These include:
- You cannot forget your fingerprints like a physical key or password.
- Your fingerprint cannot be copied (easily).
- Your fingerprint is totally unique to you.
Biometric Door Lock Disadvantages
Biometric systems can be broken into, although it is not easy. Images of fingerprints can possibly be used to enter fingerprint door locks. This is because these systems use optical scanners that record image data. 3d-based scanners are those that can be fooled by using a 3d printed mold of a body part. Having a biometric lock that requires heat and pulse detection from a real human finger can avoid these scenarios.
Copied Biometric Markers
If a thief manages to create a physical copy or image of your fingerprint, hand, or eye, then a biometric lock can be compromised. This is a bad scenario as you cannot reset your biometric marker and create a new one like a password. So, a front door biometric lock could be breached by a sophisticated criminal which could render it useless.
For more information, read our post Problems With Fingerprint Biometrics.
Damaged Door Lock Scanners
If there are any scratches or scars to the scanner material on the door lock, it may malfunction and not be able to detect a user’s fingerprint. This could result in a person being locked out of their home. Fortunately, many door locks also come with physical key entries that allow a person to bypass a failed biometric scanner.
Alternatives to Fingerprint Door Locks
Other biometric scanner types exist that can make up for any failings of a fingerprint system that falters. Iris scanners and voice detection can allow a person to open a lock without having to touch the machinery. However, these additional systems can be quite expensive and feel intrusive or uncomfortable for many people to use.
These alternative biometric door locks have a higher failure rate due to certain situations, such as a person being sick which can affect their voice or eyes.
Biometric door locks, particularly fingerprint door locks, are convenient and effective ways of securing your home. They can give you extra control over the people who can access your home or office while not breaking your bank account. However, they do come with the risk of being compromised, so it is up to you to decide if you want to add them or not.