Evaluating the Effectiveness of Using MultiModal Biometrics for Border Control

the use of multimodal biometrics for border control helps to increase security

More countries are adopting multimodal biometrics for tighter border control security,

As the speed and complexity increases to maintain safe borders across the globe for citizen and tourist travel, many governments have proactively implemented biometric identification management systems. However, most of these deployments include the use of a unimodal system (one biometric modality) for traveler identification accuracy.

As the pressure mounts to further tighten border security in the wake of a rise in global terrorism and crime, more and more governments are upgrading their unimodal biometric identification management systems to multimodal solutions which require two, sometimes three biometric credentials for authentication and safe passage. This shift change to adopting more multimodal biometric systems for border control coincides with implementing modern biometric modalities beyond the use of fingerprints which is the most traditional biometric modality for identification. More multimodal biometric identification systems for border control are implementing facial and iris recognition for example in addition to fingerprint credentials.

Interested in learning more about the adoption of multimodal biometrics to secure borders? Read more in our most recent guest article written by our own Arifin Hussain, published by our friends at planetbiometrics.com.

Do you feel that the use of multimodal biometric systems will help to keep borders safe?


Biometric SmartGates Improve Border Security and Airport Efficiency

biometric eGates increase security and convenience

The use of biometric eGates is increasing around the world to increase security and convenience. (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

The following guest post is courtesy of Australian based Hunt Migration.

In today’s unstable world, security is more important than ever. Protecting our borders has become an increasingly salient focus of the Australian government, as the use of Australia’s airports increases with each passing year. Sophisticated new technology allows the government to help ensure the safety of the country’s borders – whether dealing with migration or immigration. The successful implementation and use of so-called SmartGates have shown great promise at improving airport efficiency, as well as enhancing the protection of our borders.

A number of trials will soon be underway which utilize the biometric SmartGate for both incoming and outgoing passengers. Success of these trials will lead to the development of software that opens this service up to more nationalities.

What is a SmartGate?

A biometric SmartGate is a two-step system of self-service airport customs. These machines can quickly and effectively do the job of a customs official. The first step of the process determines whether or not one is eligible to use the service, the second uses sophisticated facial recognition technology to process passengers using ePassports.

Plans for Expanded Use

A trial set to start sometime in 2015 will involve the installation of a number of biometric SmartGate systems at eight of Australia’s busiest airports. The trial will cost some $158 AUS, but has the potential to dramatically improve both efficiency and security for the nation’s airports.

There are many benefits that have been seen from using the biometric SmartGate systems that are already installed at some airports. With projections for the continued increase of the number of travelers in and out of our borders, SmartGate systems provide a viable means for handling this increased load. It provides a more convenient, faster way for travelers to get through customs at the airport.

The enhanced security is also a key feature of the SmartGate system. Border security has never been more important. These systems utilize sophisticated facial recognition software to determine the identity of eligible passengers.

The trial seeks to determine the value of using these systems for both incoming and outgoing travelers. Success of the trial will lead to the expansion of those who can utilize this new service. At this time, only Australians, Americans, Singaporeans, those from New Zealand and the UK, and only those who are 16 or older with an ePassport are eligible.

For the duration for trial, travelers who are from Switzerland and at least 16 years of age will also be eligible to use the biometric SmartGate system. Additionally, Australian ePassport holders aged 10-15, who are accompanied by at least two adults, will also be eligible to use the system.

The biometric SmartGate provides a number of key benefits that allow for more convenient and safer travels. This system allows for the self-processing of eligible passengers through the use of highly effective automated systems. SmartGates not only make it easier for Australia’s airports to manage the continually increasing number of passengers, it also helps enhance border safety. The use of biometric SmartGates helps ensure that those who should not be in the country do not enter, those that should not leave do not, and also helps to cut down on the use of stolen passports as a means of identity theft.

This post comes from the law offices of Hunt Migration, a group of immigration agents and lawyers operating in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

M2SYS Honored by Atlanta Business Chronicle for International Biometric Identification Management Deployment

biometric identification management award for innovation

M2SYS received an award for ‘International Deal of the Year’ from the Atlanta Business Chronicle for their work on a Eastern European biometric identification management project.

Late last week, the Atlanta Business Chronicle honored M2SYS with an award for ‘International Deal of the Year’ recognizing our contract to provide the back end matching and de-duplication software for a biometric national ID project in an Eastern European country encompassing more than 80 million citizens.

We are humbled for the recognition, and proud that we were able to secure this contract to help bring the utility of biometric identification management through a domestic national ID card initiative. The innovation that our company has demonstrated by helping to build and deploy this large scale back-end matching and de-duplication solution using palm vein biometrics helps distinguish our efforts as a pioneer in constructing systems that have the capability to de-duplicate and match millions of records in seconds – important in the context of ensuring that deploying a system instills accuracy, and thus confidence in the ability of biometric identification management solutions to work fluidly and efficiently.

Hats off to our entire M2SYS team for pushing the biometric identification management innovation envelope and continuing to lead the industry with developing the fastest and most accurate de-duplication and back end matching capabilities. We are excited to help spread the utility and security of biometrics through our key, large scale deployments all across the globe and thank the staff at the Atlanta Business Chronicle for recognizing our efforts.

Congratulations M2SYS!


Can Cosmetic and Plastic Surgery Spoof the Security of Biometrics?

spoofing biometrics by altering your physical appearance

How easy is it to alter your appearance in order to spoof a biometric identification system?

The following is a guest post from Dr. Simon Weight in Perth, Australia.

Biometrics have long been hailed as fool-proof. While they do provide a high degree of security, they can be bypassed just like any security mechanism.

The most prominent way that biometrics can be bypassed is through the use of cosmetic and plastic surgery. This can allow certain types of susceptible systems to return false positives when surgery tailors certain physical traits of a person to match those that an algorithm searches for.

A Practical Example of Biometrics Being Bypassed

The best way to answer “Can it be done?” is to look at a time when biometrics have been bypassed.

In December of 2009, a Chinese woman in Japan name Lin Rong was able to bypass biometrics put in place by Japanese controls to essentially give her an entirely new identity. She accomplished this by having an illegal surgery that swapped skin grafts of her fingers.

The Japanese authorities reported that this type of bypass is a practice likely to be widespread among illegal immigrants in Japan.

Faking Facial Recognition

While it’s one thing to confuse a system based on biometrics, it’s an entirely different thing to attempt to fake one’s identity as another person. This may be possible with implants or other simple surgeries that alter the way that fingerprints work.

The true test concerning biometrics being faked is if facial recognition can be bypassed.

The surprising answer is that it can be in some instances. A comprehensive facial recognition program that searches for multiple vectors can be used to safe guard against this problem as well, but that will be addressed later.

To understand the challenges presented by cosmetic and plastic surgery as it applies to facial recognition, it’s important to understand that there are two types of cosmetic surgery: local and global surgery.

The former alters one local feature, such as the nose, while the latter alters the entire facial structure. This can make predicting change due to plastic surgery nearly impossible due to the fact that information on such surgery is likely unavailable.

An Imperfect Solution

Individual algorithms that attempt to address the issues that plastic surgery can present with regards to facial recognition are nowhere near perfect on their own. The algorithm with the lowest accuracy rating for predicting cosmetic surgery changes is the Principle Component Analysis (PCA) algorithm with a success rate of 29.1%, and the highest is the Neutral Network Architecture-Based 2-D Log Polar Gabor Transform (GNN) with a success rate of 54.2%.

The best strategy to use is to employ several algorithms into a facial recognition biometrics system. This allows multiple vectors to be checked, which in turn makes it significantly harder to falsify biometrics readings. It’s essential to ensure you’ve chosen the correct plastic surgeon, and that they’re up to the job.

The lowest computed value of any given employed algorithm can then be used to assess if an individual has undergone plastic surgery. This allows for the maker of a biometrics system to employ a risk analysis for subjects that matches the level of security required by the system.

At worst, this will require that a valid employee have their facial recognition credentials qualified again while keeping possible intruders out of areas they aren’t supposed to have access to.

While this method is imperfect, as it relies upon at least one feature resulting in a positive or close match, it’s a better solution than none at all. Future techniques may make it easier for one face to be compared to another with more accurate results.

This post comes from the writing team at Dr. Simon Weight’s clinic in Perth. Dr. Simon is an expert in cosmetic surgeries, although he does advise obtaining a new passport if you’ve had considerable facial work done.

Biometrics: How does it Reduce the Risk of Security Breaches?

The following is a guest post by Robert Kramers.

In one way or another, biometrics has been around for a long time. Film fans may remember it from the 1993 film Demolition Man. This film is often cited as “predicting” the use of biometrics in security, but the truth is that this idea has been floating around since the discovery of fingerprints.

So, what is bio-security?

Bio-security uses biometrics as a way of identification and access control. It involves the use of body parts as an identification process, and works in a similar way we know fingerprint scanning works. An eye scanner, for instance, can detect all of the minute differences in the human eye, which are much more visible than people think, as evidenced by the photo below.

iris recognition biometric identification management

When it comes to biometric security, everything from your face to your DNA can be used to identify you. This technology is not just the stuff of science fiction anymore and biometric security and is currently used on consumer tablets and smartphones as well as access to sensitive information and hardware within high level corporations.

Biometrics has the potential to be used everywhere, from top-end businesses keeping entire buildings secure to artists, writers and photographers looking to secure the safety and protection of their intellectual property. Biosecurity is far more advanced than any other form of security, and contains fewer holes and breaches that leave more traditional systems vulnerable.

Fast Access to Personal Information

The main advantage of biometric technology over traditional security systems is that it detects things that are unique to the individual quickly and accurately.

This means that a place of business can ensure that only the employees gain access and attempted crime can be pinpointed faster.

Biometrics and a number of advancing technologies, including wireless power through resonant induction, have the ability to work cohesively. Items like this biometric sensor, which is printed directly on to human flesh (aka the biostamp) means, that a number of personally identifiable features has the ability to be obtained from the likes of a patient, in just seconds. Wireless power would provide the ability for the biostamp to communicate with internal devices like LVADs. This has the potential to help with medical information security, monitoring and identification.

Accuracy of Identification

Despite the misconception provided by popular sci-fi action movies, in real life modern biometric scanners detect capillary flow behind the eye or the finger, which means that they can only be used by a living, breathing person.

Biometrics can also be used to stop security holes that other systems can not detect.

For example, at Disney World, where a 5-day ticket can cost up to US$350, biometric fingerprint scanners are used to ensure that only the person who purchased a ticket can enter the park, which stops people from lending, sharing or even selling their ticket to others.


fingerprint biometrics for identification, finger scanner

Biometrics in use at Disney World (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)

Absence of Anonymity

Every time an eye scanner, fingerprint scanner or any other form of biometric is used to allow access for one person, that person’s details can be stored in a database. Not only is their physiological data stored which can be used to find their name, address and more but also information on when and where they logged in.

By scanning for fingerprints, irises and other unique parts of an individual’s physiology, it ensures that it knows exactly who is trying to gain access at any given time.

This information can be used across the board, from employers who simply want to make sure their employees are logging in and doing their work when they should, to those investigating crimes on the premises.

Unauthorized Duplication

We live in an age where everything from luxury handbags to prescription medication can be copied to the finest details, and this also applies to keys and key cards, the very things that keep us secure using current security standards. The beauty of biometrics is the near impossibility of duplication.

As each individual is unique, and due to the complex nature of the biometric systems, moulds and other inanimate things cease to work.

Loss and Theft

Finally, whereas keys and codes can be lost, biometrics can not.

Simply put, you can’t lose you.

Not only does this mean that you will always have access, but it also guarantees that you are not leaving open access to your property on the subway or in the back of a taxi. Where your access is, you are also – which adds another layer of complexity and security to accessed gained.

In conclusion, the idea of biometrics and security have an increasing number reasons to be adopted particularly for reasons related to security. Additionally, it is very possible that some forms of biometric security like vein pattern recognition and eye scanning will have the ability to provide hygiene benefits due to non-contact biometric interpretation.

This was written by Robert Kramers. The technology enthused freelance blogger at RobertKramers.com