NASA center tests biometric log-ins

NASA center tests biometric log-ins

BY PATRICIA DAUKANTAS | GCN STAFF

Although engineers at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center are starting to evaluate biometric log-in products, the technology probably won't be in wide use at the center for at least two years.

Testing began last month on one product that scans faces and fingerprints, said John Donohue, associate head of Goddard's Real-Time Software Engineering Branch in Greenbelt, Md.

Goddard scientists and technicians now use a combination of passwords and key cards to secure user accounts and computer rooms. But remote access presents security worries for systems that perform critical functions such as controlling unmanned spacecraft.

'If someone uses your key card, I can't tell,' Donohue said. 'It's harder to spoof your face and finger.'

Donohue's group is evaluating the speed and reliability of the eTrue authentication service from eTrue Inc. of Southborough, Mass. The start-up provides authentication peripherals, such as small cameras and fingerprint scanners, and stores users' biometric data on servers hosted by Exodus Communications Inc. of Waltham, Mass.

ETrue began offering its service last November after one year of development, eTrue chief executive officer David Teitelman said.

Iris and voice

In addition to face and fingerprint verification, the eTrue service can perform iris matching and voice recognition, Teitelman said. The company recommends using at least two methods of biometric identification.

Donohue said he expects Goddard's eTrue evaluation to take 30 days, after which the staff will test products from other vendors.

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