Recognition of a person based on their physiological characteristics is known as Biometrics. Biometric systems have been widely used before the inception of computers in human activities. These systems make use of the physical or biological traits of human beings for recognition and authentication purposes. The most commonly used natural features or characteristics are fingerprints, iris, and face. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, most educational institutions, IT companies, Government & Private Offices used biometric fingerprint systems to mark attendance or access into restricted areas. Fingerprint recognition is a secure and convenient technology that has become widespread, not only in the workplace, smartphones, but also in our daily activities. However, the recent global outbreak of COVID-19 concerns the safety of fingerprint authentication, as touching the sensors can potentially spread viruses. In addition, surfaces in general public places such as supporting handles in buses and trains, elevators buttons, ATMs, door handles etc., can act as fomites for spreading the virus. In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, numerous news articles have claimed the risk of spreading the infection via these commonly touched surfaces. In this paper, we discuss the actual risk of transmission of COVID-19 through fingerprint biometrics & explore alternative biometric methods which can be used during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keywords: Biometric; Fingerprint; COVID.