Biometrics – technology that can recognise individuals based on physical and behavioural traits such as their faces, voices or fingerprints – are becoming increasingly important to combat financial fraud and security threats. This is because traditional approaches, such as those based on PIN numbers or passwords, are proving too easily compromised.
However, this is not foolproof either – it is possible to forge such biometrics. Fingers can after all be chopped off and placed by impostors to gain fraudulent access. It has also been shown that prints lifted from glass using cellophane tape can be used with gelatine to create fake prints. So there is a real need to come up with more advanced biometrics that are difficult or impossible to forge. And a promising alternative is the brain.
Emerging biometric technology based on the electrical activity of the brain have indeed shown potential to be fraud resistant. Over the years, a number of research studies have found that "brainprints" (readings of how the brain reacts to certain words or tasks) are unique to individuals as each person's brain is wired to think differently. In fact, the brain can be used to identify someone from a pool of 102 users with more than 98% accuracy at the moment, which is very close to that of fingerprints (99.8% accuracy).