CIBC uses biometrics to secure sites

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce needed to make its processing plants as secure as possible without alienating the employees that worked there at the same time.

Cards, passwords and PIN numbers can easily be lost, stolen or lent out. So CIBC decided to implement biometrics technology to control physical access to its 10 processing plants across the country.

“Because the risk factor is fairly significant at these facilities, we do need to ensure that just entitled employees are permitted entry into our centres,” said Art Molasy, a security engineering specialist at CIBC in Toronto.

Retina or iris scanning technology seemed too obtrusive and was likely to instil fear in employees, Molasy said. Fingerprint biometrics seemed to be the least objectionable format.

Mytec Gateway, fingerprint biometrics technology by Mytec Technologies Inc. in Toronto, offered a way to secure access while at the same time addressing employee concerns about privacy.

The technology differs from the fingerprint methods used by law enforcement and offers employees more privacy because the pattern stored doesn’t resemble a fingerprint, said engineering and new product development director Terry Milkie of Mytec. Because no recognizable fingerprint pattern is stored, it doesn’t matter if the pattern is lost or stolen.

The law enforcement technique uses what are called minutiae points, end points in your fingerprint ridge that come to an end and don’t join anything else, to identify fingerprints. Mytec technology uses the whole fingerprint pattern — shape, contour and texture — to identify fingerprints.

If someone cuts or scratches his or her finger, more minutiae points are created, making identification through the matching of minutiae points difficult. Because a lot more data is used in Mytec’s method, cuts and scratches don’t make as much of a difference when making a match, Milkie said.

We believe it’s more accurate. We believe it has built-in redundancy — it’s more robust because we don’t care if you’ve cut your finger. It’s important that the pattern looks a little bit different, but because we have so much data, it doesn’t matter,” Milkie said.