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How to fool biometric scanners

Posted by James Hammerton @ 8:15 pm on 7 January, 2006.
Categories privacy and surveillance.
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Another catch-up item. The British government has placed great faith in biometrics to make their proposed identity cards secure. Yet it seems many biometric scanners can be easily fooled:

  • For example, Play-Doh has been used to fool fingerprint scanners:

    Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering Stephanie Schuckers and her team at Clarkson University found that most scanning systems can be fooled 90% of the time by taking a mold of the mark’s finger, filling the mold with Play-Doh, and using the fake digit to gain access.

    However the authors designed an algorithm that takes perspiration into account and it was only fooled 10% of the time.

  • If you’re not sure about the Play-Doh, you could always try using gelatine, which was found to fool the scanners 80% of the time.
  • Should you wish to fool an iris scanner, it seems printing a photograph of the iris, cutting a hole where the pupil is and looking through it will suffice. OK, you’ll look rather conspicuous if you’re at an iris scanner peering through bits of paper, but it does suggest that an appropriately designed contact lense would suffice. The linked article also gives you more ways of fooling that fingerprint scanner. The article also pointed out that showing live video of a registered person to the camera was enough to fool a facial recognition system.

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