Facial recognition system “reads” blood vessels for unbreakable security

A new biometrics system could “read” blood vessels under the skin using thermal imaging cameras – identifying people with an algorithm which its inventors claim would be “almost impossible to spoof.”

The pattern of blood vessels underneath the skin of our faces is as unique as fingerprints or irises, and can be detected easily with infrared thermal imaging cameras, the researchers from Jadavpur University in Kolkata, India, say. The algorithm devised by a team led by Ayan Seal can reveal blood vessels “down to the smallest capillary,” the team said. The algorithm has an accuracy of more than 97%.

“Rubber fingerprints can be made to simulate another person’s dabs while contact lenses can be fabricated to spoof someone’s iris so that an impostor could bypass biometric security measures,” the researchers say in a paper published in  the International Journal of Computational Intelligence Studies.

“It would be almost impossible to create a realistic mask for an impostor to wear that simulated the pattern of blood vessels in someone’s face – because no matter how good the mask, the thermal imaging camera would be able to see the impostor’s blood vessels in their skin too and they would be unmasked, figuratively speaking,” the researchers say.

The technique is precise enough to be used in high-security situations, the researchers say, provided it is tied to a second form of identity such as photo ID or security cards.

Biometrics systems were once the preserve of business, but are increasingly being used in consumer electronics as companies seek more secure alternatives to password systems. An ESET report on biometric security and Windows 8 can be found here.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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