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Biometrics revisited for security, dependability and confidence

Final Activity Report Summary - BIO-RESIDENCE (Biometrics Revisited for Security, Dependability and Confidence)

The first two baseline objectives in BIO-RESIDENCE were: 1) to track the state-of-the-art on established biometric modalities like fingerprint, and 2) to advance the state-of-the-art on user-friendly but not widely adopted biometrics like signature verification. The first objective was conducted through various studies that have provided new insight into several factors that affect the performance of established biometric technology, which were not yet well understood. These factors include how the image quality impacts the performance in fingerprint recognition, or how realistic acquisition scenarios affect the behaviour of critical applications such as forensic identification.

The second objective has been met by developing new recognition technology based on multi-algorithm approaches. This new technology has been applied to the problem of signature verification, which excellent results in international competitive technology evaluations, and can be also applied to other recognition problems. In order to validate and better understand the practice of the newly developed recognition technology, it has been implemented and studied in various realistic working scenarios, with emphasis due to its potential impact on user authentication based on handwritten signature or other kind of graphical inputs on touchscreen-enabled smartphone. The work in this area has also resulted in new insight into the nature and properties of the human handwriting.

The previous baseline objectives have helped to establish the experimental framework to further advance the state-of-the-art towards improved security, dependability, and confidence in biometric technology. The achievements in this regard can be divided in two main points: 1) technology and operational benchmarking of biometrics, 2) better understanding the vulnerability points in biometric technology.

The first point has included as an important task the contribution in the design, collection, post-processing, and distribution of of new multimodal biometric databases such as BioSecure, and the organidation of competitive benchmarks using those data.

The second point is related to other contributions such as: 1) demonstration of the invertibility of standardized fingerprint templates from which gummy fingers can be reconstructed in order to fool identification systems; 2) demonstration of how readable information from a biometric system (e.g. output scores, matching time) can help potential attackers to break biometric systems; 3) development of countermeasures to various types of attacks, and 4) development of security evaluation methodologies for biometric systems according to established practices such as Common Criteria.