How reliable is biometric security? Computers recognize us by our faces, voices and fingerprints, but can we trick them by pretending to be someone else? In this edition of Futuris Denis Loctier finds out just how easily this can be done.
Facial recognition is sometimes used instead of passwords for secure computer access. But if an intruder uses a mask, some biometric systems can be tricked into letting him in.
Computers rely on complex algorithms to learn and recognize our faces. However, systems of biometric identification can be surprisingly easy to get around.
A European research project is studying weaknesses in biometric systems in order to make them more secure. The problem for Sébastien Marcel, researcher in biometrics, at the Idialp research institute is that “biometric systems most effective at recognising a person are also potentially the most vulnerable. Every time there is a new attack we have to develop a new counter measure. So there’s still quite a bit to do before we understand why biometric systems are vulnerable.”
Realistic masks are the latest challenge to facial recognition systems. Until recently, infiltrators used photos or videos of the targeted person’s face. Software developed by the researchers prevents such attacks.