replacing compromised biometric authenticators

Matt Harris matt at
Wed Oct 11 21:10:51 CST 2017

I would definitely not say that it is current best practice not to deploy
biometrics.  As part of a holistic approach, biometric systems can improve
security greatly.  As a singular approach, using it as a single factor for
authentication and authorization of access/actions, it's as terrible an
idea as any other.  The difficult of passing a high-quality biometric
authentication system, even knowing its success conditions, is
non-trivial.  The good ones check for basic signs of life, as well, so
simply cutting off someone's hand and trying to use it would fail, for
example.  There are, of course, cheap biometric systems that are not as
good, and ymmv depending on what and how you deploy biometrics.  Taking the
specific threat level you're up against is always relevant.

All of the facilities I have in production have a three factor approach to
access - "something you know, something you have, and something you are."
 Biometrics being the latter, plus a badge or dongle, and a four digit
code.  None of my production facilities can be access without all three.

Take care,

On Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:04 PM, Ken Chase <math at> wrote:

> (forking the thread here..)
> Biometrics are still the new hotness out in North America. Cologix whom I
> deal
> with in Canada has a dozen and a half odd POPs in canada/usa and I think
> has
> fingerprinting at all sites.
> If the current best operating practice is to avoid biometrics, why are they
> still in use out here? Has anyone gotten the message? Is anyone in North
> America
> ripping them out yet?
> Other factors include your country's privacy regulations for storing
> irreplaceable personal information, the burden of which might not be worth
> the security 'benefit'.
> /kc
> On Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 04:46:02PM -0400, William Herrin said:
>   >On Wed, Oct 11, 2017 at 4:32 PM, J??rg Kost <jk at> wrote:
>   >
>   >> Do you guys still at least have biometric access control devices at
> your
>   >> Level3 dc? They even removed this things at our site, because there
> is no
>   >> budget for a successor for the failing unit. And to be consistent,
> they
>   >> event want to remove all biometric access devices at least across
> Germany.
>   >>
>   >
>   >Hi  J??rg,
>   >
>   >IMO, biometric was a gimmick in the first place and a bad idea when
>   >carefully considered. All authenticators can be compromised. Hence, all
>   >authenticators must be replaceable following a compromise. If one of
> your
>   >DCs' palm vein databases is lost, what's your plan for replacing that
> hand?
>   >
>   >Regards,
>   >Bill Herrin
>   >
>   >
>   >--
>   >William Herrin ................ herrin at  bill at
>   >Dirtside Systems ......... Web: <>
> --
> Ken Chase - math at Guelph Canada

Matt Harris - Chief Security Officer
Main: +1 855.696.3834 ext 103
Mobile: +1 908.590.9472
Email: matt at

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