The Top 5 Reasons to Deploy Multimodal Biometrics

M2-FuseID is a multimosal biometric finger reader that simultaneously captures a fingerprint and finger vein pattern.

Many end users are now using multimodal biometric hardware devices for their deployments such as the M2-FuseID™ “smart” finger reader that combines fingerprint and finger vein pattern identification.

The following post was written by Ekhlas Uddin, Senior Executive in our Business Development & Interactive Marketing Department

Several years ago, if you questioned most identity management professionals whether they imagined the use of biometrics for individual identification management would turn out to become mainstream for authentication security, a majority would have said that the technology could be used in some areas, but only few could have forecasted the tremendous scale and scope of some larger deployments developing all over the world.

The reason behind adopting biometric technology is because traditional authentication tactics like the once thought to be ubiquitous password/username are insufficient for personal identity simply because they can only provide evidence of ownership or proof of knowledge whereas biometrics provides unique advantages as it relies on identifying someone by “who they are” compared to “what you know “or “what you have.”

For those who have adopted or are considering adopting biometrics for identification, the most recent pre-deployment question due in part to the evolution of the industry is whether to deploy a unimodal or multimodal biometric system. Multimodal biometric systems have become the best suited solution for any industry where high accuracy and security is required because they require two biometric credentials for positive identification instead of one in a unimodal system. Based on our own research, we have concluded that multimodal biometric systems have more advantages over unimodal biometric systems or traditional authentication systems.  We have done extensive research on this culminating in the release of our whitepaper available for download: The Necessity of Multimodal Biometric Systems for Large Scale Deployments.

 

Here are the top 5 reasons that organizations may consider deploying multimodal biometrics:

  1. Accuracy: Multimodal biometrics uses information from two or more biometrics – (e.g. fingerprint and finger vein pattern; or fingerprint and iris and voice) whereas unimodal biometric systems use information from one biometric – (e.g. fingerprint, iris, palm, signature, voice, hand shape, or face). The accuracy of a multimodal biometrics system is normally calculated in terms of image acquisition errors and matching errors. Image acquisition errors consist of failure-to-acquire (FTA) and failure-to-enroll (FTE) rate whereas matching errors comprise false non-match rates (FNMR) in which a legitimate person is rejected and a false match rate (FMR) where an impostor is granted access. Multimodal biometric systems have almost zero FTE, FMR & FTA rates because in this system, each and every subsystem has a viewpoint or a determination on the user’s claim. The examiner module utilizes various fusion strategies in order to combine each single subsystem decision or opinion and then come up with a conclusion. This is the reason that multimodal biometrics are more accurate than unimodal or any other authentication system.
  1. Increased and Reliable Recognition: A multimodal biometric system permits a greater level of assurance for an accurate match in verification as well as identification modes. As multimodal biometric systems utilize multiple biometric traits, each single trait can offer additional evidence about the authenticity of any identity claim. For example, the patterns of movements (gaits) of two individuals of the same family or coincidentally of two different persons can be similar. In this particular circumstance, a unimodal biometric system based only on gait pattern analysis might lead to a false recognition. If the same biometric system additionally includes fingerprint matching or finger vein matching, the system would certainly results in increased recognition rate, as it is nearly impossible that two different individuals have same gait as well as fingerprint/finger vein pattern.
  1. Enhanced Security: Another advantage of a multimodal biometric system is that by making use of multiple methods of identification, a system can preserve higher threshold recognition settings and a system administrator can make a decision on the level of security that is needed. For an extremely high security site/area, you might need to use up to three biometric identifiers and for a lower security site/area, you could possibly require one or two credentials. If one of the identifiers fails for any unknown reason, your system can still utilize another one or two of them in order to provide the accurate identification of a person. In this way, it significantly reduces the probability of admitting an imposter. 
  1. Vulnerability: Spoofing is the biggest threat to authentication systems. Multimodal as well as unimodal biometric systems are sometimes vulnerable to spoofing. Spoofing happens whenever an unauthorized person has the capacity to masquerade as an authorized user.The potential threats due to fake or artificial fingers were evaluated by another research team and the experiment exhibited that artificial fingers cloned with plastic molds could possibly enroll in the 11 tested fingerprint systems and were being accepted in the verification procedures with the probability of 68-100%, depending on the system. In this scenario, alternative hardware devices that rely on simultaneous multimodal authentication such as a biometric smart fingerprint/finger vein reader with liveness detection can eliminate spoofing. “Liveness” describes the capability of a multimodal biometric system to distinguish between a living and a fake sample and is generally done by measuring biometric features like humidity, pulse, blood flow, temperature, etc. 
  1. User Acceptance: As multimodal biometric systems are more accurate, reliable, have larger security options, and have the ability to avoid spoofing attacks, these systems are more widely accepted in many countries that cover large to larger deployments. Biometric deployments that encompass large scale population databases are turning to multimodal systems. However, in deployments where security and accuracy are paramount, no matter how small, multimodal systems have become ubiquitous.

Conclusion

The inadequate accuracy and reliability of traditional authentication and unimodal biometric systems has lead many end users to utilize multimodal biometric systems in order to provide the maximum level of accurate authentication. One thing we need to mention here is that privacy is a vital aspect of any multimodal biometric system deployment. The design of the multimodal biometric system must ensure that it does not threaten personal or informational privacy. Personal information should be collected only under specific conditions and for specific reasons and only be used for the purpose it was collected.

Multimodal biometric systems are a must in those industries where the ultimate security and accuracy is required, and where a simple mistake can lead death to many civilians or can cause great havoc to their normal life. A multimodal biometric system is best suited for industries such as healthcare, civil ID (eID/national ID), and Financial industries. Many developed countries like United States, Japan, United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada already deployed multimodal biometric system for voter registration, national id, national healthcare or ePassport projects. Developing and under developed countries are also taking the lead from developed countries and deploying multimodal biometric systems.

What other authentication systems do you think are superior to a multimodal biometrics system? Please share your thoughts through the comments.

Ebola Scare a Stark Reminder of Hygiene and Hospital Infection Control

Biometric patient identification technology should support hospital infection control.

The recent Ebola virus scare at Carolinas Medical Center reiterates the importance of the importance of hygiene and following infection control protocols.

The recent news story of an Ebola scare from a patient at Carolinas Medical Center is a testament to the ongoing industry focus of maintaining a hygienic environment for patients in any hospital setting. According to the article, after discovering that an Emergency Room Department patient suffering from a fever had recently traveled in Africa, hospital staff quickly quarantined the patient as a safety precaution in case the patient was indeed infected with the Ebola virus. It was determined later that the patient did not have the virus but instead could have been infected with malaria and possibly another disease. Unfortunately, after hospital staff roped off an area of the ER, rumors began to swirl around that a patient may have the Ebola virus causing a slight panic both inside the hospital and among the community.

Thankfully, the patient was not in fact inflicted with the Ebola virus – which is a highly contagious disease, “ transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission” according to the World Health Organization (WHO) Web site. A scary scenario indeed, but in the end the patient did not have the Ebola virus and a potential crisis was averted.

Hospitals have always maintained strict infection control protocols within their facilities to help stop the spread of germs and bacteria that could potentially lead to the dangers of nosocomial infections. Renewed emphasis on maintaining airtight hospital infection control policies continues to be a hot topic in the healthcare industry due to recent reports that it is still a major issue for patient safety. A quick glance around a hospital setting with all of the hand washing signs and reminders to cover the mouth when coughing on sneezing reiterates that hospitals continue to educate patients and staff that maintaining a hygienic environment is and always will be, the linchpin of patient safety.

As a vendor that deploys biometric patient identification solutions within hospital settings, we take the topic of hygiene very seriously and work hard to deploy solutions that support hospital infection control initiatives. Regardless of the biometric modality that a hospital decides to deploy as the identification hardware for their use of biometrics for patient identification, stressing the importance of hygiene and following infection control protocols regardless of the biometric technology you use is a key component of our effort to support patient safety initiatives. It is the responsibility of any healthcare vendor to support hospital infection control with their solutions and help facilitate a safe environment for patients and staff. The recent Ebola scare at Carolinas Medical Center ED is a stark reminder that hospitals continue to remain cognizant of supporting infection control protocols that could have devastating effects on patients if not handled properly.

Hat tip to the Carolinas Medical Center staff for their diligence and quick thinking to enact hospital infection control initiatives in the wake of this scare.

The Impact of Biometrics in Banking

biometrics in banking

The rise in use of biometrics in banking is helping to better secure customer transactions to prevent fraud.Introduction

The rapid digitization of banking services combined with the continued need to adopt stricter customer and employee identification protocols to prevent identity theft and fraud has set the table for biometric identification technology to become an integral and strategic part of financial service security platforms. Acting as a strong authentication tool to help secure ATM, brick and mortar, and online transactions, biometrics in banking also helps to increase customer trust and improve brand reputation. The necessity for a stronger authentication solution became inevitable in banking services because of the growing pace of sophisticated transactional technology adoption along with the unfortunate rise in fraud and security breaches due to reliance on traditional security systems such as passwords.

Biometric Technology in the Banking Sector

Biometrics are automated methods of recognizing customers through their biological characteristics and traits such as fingerprints, finger vein patterns, iris, and voice recognition. Biometric characteristics are unique for every individual and difficult to forge, which is why biometric verification and authentication is commonplace in immigration control, law enforcement, and forensic studies. Many banks worldwide are already using biometrics with their banking systems to authenticate employees and customers and among all banks utilizing biometrics, 52 percent are located in Asia. Japan has more than an estimated 15 million customers using biometric authentication for banking transactions. Banks in Mexico, South America, Africa, and the Middle East are also moving towards the use of biometric identification technology because of its popularity with consumers, and ability to offer more security than traditional personal identification numbers (PINs) and passwords.

Figures – Proportion of Banking Using Biometric in Different Continents

biometrics in banking

 

 

 

 

 

[Source - Text Road Publication Report - 2012]

Different Ways to Use Biometrics in Banking

Biometric technology is slowly replacing traditional passwords and token-based electronic access, signature-based branch service access, and PIN-based access in mobile banking and at ATMs. Here are ways that banks can use biometric technology to improve banking services and better protect customer assets:

  • Biometrics in Branch Banking-

Financial service institutions are using fingerprint and finger vein biometrics in banking for customer identification in their branches because these two biometric authentication methods deliver fast results that are suitable for the busiest branches of a bank. Moreover, finger print and finger vein systems are user friendly, easy to use and ensure reliable security. When customers visit branches they can be authenticated at the counter through fingerprint and finger vein biometric scanners that match the customer’s existing biometric template within the bank database, and after successful authentication, the customer will be allowed to move forward with their banking transactions.

  • Biometrics  in Banking ATMs

Using biometrics in banking ATMs is popular in developed countries and the adoption rate is growing significantly. There are two approaches for customer authentication in ATMs — a customer using only biometrics and a bank card or a PIN along with biometric authentication. Therefore, facial recognition, fingerprints, finger vein patterns and iris recognition are the most suitable in ATMs as these biological traits can be easily authenticated in this environment.  Furthermore, these types of biometric modalities also have other advantages such as flexibility, compactness, and accuracy.

  • Biometrics for Internet Banking

Many computers, laptops, and even smart phones already have webcams, microphones, and fingerprint scanners, offering flexibility for banks to easily adopt biometric authentication in online banking services with fingerprint, finger vein, facial, and voice recognition. When customers attempt to access their account, some banks now require them to provide a biometric credential first. Some banks require biometric authentication beside the traditional password to make authentication stronger, also known as a “multi-factor” authentication system. This helps banking institutions to protect customer identities from being compromised by cyber criminals and any others trying to illegally obtain sensitive customer information to commit a crime.

  • Biometrics in Mobile Banking

Mobile banking is growing rapidly worldwide, and according to Juniper Research, 400 million people performed a mobile banking transaction in 2013. Despite this large number, many bank customers still have a lack of trust over the security of mobile banking platforms and concerns over security. Banking transactions or customer services could be performed through a voice or speech recognition system where customers need to verify their identity using the microphone in their phones.

  • Single Sign on Solution for More Effective Password Management   

Banks and financial institutions are suffering from network security and data breaches worldwide. According to a recent ACI Worldwide Survey, 44%of customer financial accounts have been compromised and 15% of breaches cause fraud. In a 2013 Ponemon Institute Survey, it was reported that an average cost of these types of incidents is $9.4 million. Banks can easily adopt biometric single sign on (SSO) solutions into their network for password management, identity management, data and network security, and two factor authentication. This system will eliminate vulnerable passwords and loopholes of a bank data security system and will protect both banks and customers from unauthorized access and data breaches. Furthermore, a biometric SSO system will mitigate other security risks and regulatory fines for government compliance.

Benefits of Using Biometrics in Banking

  • Protecting Banking Information – Biometric technology provides the strongest method of authentication that protects banking information from being compromised by unauthorized personnel.
  • Fast and Accurate Branch Banking – Biometric technology provides fast and accurate identification for the banking industry. Customers can be quickly authenticated in mere seconds through a fast biometric scan.
  • Protection Against Insider Fraud – Biometric identification of employees performing transactions on the back end is a crucial step to ensuring identity protection and reducing fraud. Biometrics in banking will help financial institutions to prevent insider fraud by establishing secure employee authentication, accountability and concrete audit trail of each transaction.
  • Secure Online Banking – Over the past years the banking sector has been suffering from massive online service cyber attacks. In most of these cases customers lose their money from the negative effects of identity theft. Biometrics in banking helps the bank to protect customer identities when using online banking services.
  • ATMs with Biometrics – Biometrics in banking for ATMs authentication brings outstanding benefits to both customers and banks. This system now gives customers flexibility to make transactions without bringing bank cards. Banks can avoid the costs and liabilities of customer problems due to lost or stolen bank cards.
  • Audit Trails – Banks can easily track and monitor employee and customer activity in the system to create concrete audit trails with biometric technology solutions.
  • Fast, Secure and Accurate Customer Care Service – The banking sector is always in need of tighter security solutions to provide improved and more secure customer care service over the phone and internet. A biometric voice recognition system for example provides a secure and flexible solution to verify any customers executing transactions outside of a brick and mortar environment.

Conclusion

Due to the role of customer trust and loyalty in the success of banks, and thus in the economic development of countries, banks should provide convenient and more secured banking services to customers. Biometric technology, integrated with an existing traditional security system, will empower banks to deploy the highest level of authentication security possible.

Liveness Detection to Fight Biometric Spoofing

 

our new M2-FuseID finger scanner uses sophisticated anti-spoofing technology and liveness detection.

Modern biometric hardware devices feature sophisticated “liveness detection” and anti-spoofing technology to prevent fraud and increase security.

The following post was written by Shaon Shahnewaz, Senior Executive in our Business Development & Interactive Marketing Department

Should we be wary of leaving our fingerprints behind? Circumventing biometric security access by spoofing the system – is turning from science-fiction to reality.

Intro

There have been times where we have seen in sci-fi movies that thieves are copying and spoofing biometric identification management systems to gain unauthorized access to valuable information. Extracting eyeballs, and lifting fingerprints to create rubber molds to successfully fool a biometric recognition hardware device in themovies that might look like a cool thing to do, but have you thought about the implications of it in real life? What if, for example, someone right now is trying to copy your biometric information and using it to spoof a biometric system to access your bank account?

What is Spoofing?

Biometric spoofing is a method of fooling a biometric identification management system, where an artificial object (like a fingerprint mold made of silicon) is presented to the biometric scanner that imitates the unique biological properties of a person which the system is designed to measure, so that the system will not be able to distinguish the artifact from the real biological target.

Are Biometric Characteristics Private?

Biometric spoofing is a growing concern. We leave fingerprints  everywhere in our day to day lives, so the chance of someone lifting them and copying them is real. Currently it’s only researchers that are doing spoofing and copying for testing purposes and it is not a mainstream activity–but it could be soon as more businesses and governments around the world adopt biometrics for identification management. Many people are trying to classify biometric physiological characteristircs as secret, but they aren’t. Our faces and irises are visible to everyone and our voices can be recorded. Fingerprints and DNA are left everywhere we go and it’s been proved that these are real threats to be replicated for the purpose of spoofing biometric systems.

Biometric Deployment Risks with Spoofing

Like any other security technology, biometrics has inherent weaknesses that can potentially compromise the security of a system. Susceptibility to spoofing attacks is just one of them. The implication of a biometric device’s susceptibility to spoofing attacks includes:

  • Artificial objects being used to mount attacks against existing enrolments in order to gain unauthorized access to the resources protected by the biometric system.
  • Artificial objects being used to authenticate thus fraudulently associating an audit trail with an unwitting individual.
  • Artificial objects being used to enroll in a biometric system and then delegating these objects across multiple individuals, undermining the integrity of the entire system.
  • An individual may repudiate transactions associated with his account or enrollment – claiming instead that they are the result of attacks – due to the inability of the biometric system to ensure liveness detection.

What’s the Solution?

Academic and industry experts have been researching methods to counter the threat of physical spoofing of biometric samples. In particular, various liveness detection methods have been conceived and implemented in some devices. Liveness detection is defined as biometric hardware devices that have the ability to look beyond the surface of the skin and can discriminate between the features of live skin and copies of those features in a fraction of a second. However, as every man made solution can be defeated, efforts to enhance and improve liveness detection remain a work in progress.

Recently our researchers here at M2SYS Technology developed a “smart” biometric finger scanner named M2-FuseID™, which is capable of distinguishing fingerprints made of artificial objects from a live fingerprint. The liveness detection technology they have introduced for this is among the most sophisticated in the world. Our researchers have  designed the M2-FuseID™ “smart” finger scanner by including  an extra liveness detection finger vein sensor just beside the regular fingerprint sensor in this advanced fingerprint reader. This advanced sensor can measure the liveness of the finger veins by identifying the presence of a live blood flow to detect whether the object it’s scanning for fingerprints is artificial or a real finger.

Benefits of Adopting a Liveness Detection System with M2-FuseID™

Our M2-FuseID™ smart fingerprint device with sophisticated liveness detection helps to minimize the risk against spoofing in the following manner:

  • It simultaneously looks at and beneath the skin surface for live blood flow in the veins of the finger.
  • Protects against fake and spoofed fingerprints.
  • Provides protection from published and unpublished finger copying methods.
  • Adaptable against future spoof threats.

Conclusion

Although biometric authentication devices can be susceptible to spoofing attacks, different anti-spoofing techniques can be developed and implemented that may significantly raise the level of difficulty of such attacks. Our M2-FuseID™reader with advanced liveness detection identifies the individual being scanned as alive or fake in fingerprint biometric security systems. It has all the potential to enhance security, reliability, and effectiveness of a biometric system and protect against unauthorized access.

5 Ways Biometrics Help Solve Crimes

biometric identification management used to help solve crimes

Biometric identification management technology advancements have made the technology important tool in the fight against crime.

The following guest post was submitted by Rebecca Gray, a writer from backgroundchecks.org

Biometrics technology, once the stuff of idealistic or dystopian science fiction tales, has become a part of real life in the twenty-first century. Biometrics are used in areas as diverse as security for businesses, schools, government agencies, borders and airports; patient identification in hospitals and blood banks; voice control of electronic devices; and criminal investigations. While many people may think of biometrics in terms of face, voice and iris recognition, there are many other types of biometrics in use or in development as well.

One of the most fascinating uses of biometrics is in crime solving. While real life procedures don’t quite match the television depictions of biometrics usage in crime labs, crime-fighting organizations and crime labs have some pretty impressive technology at their disposal. In the past few years the FBI has been moving to a new system that improves the accuracy and performance of its existing setup, while adding more biometrics, including enhanced fingerprinting, palm scans, facial recognition and iris scans. It’s going to take a while before all of the Federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies update their systems to work in sync with the FBI’s, but that day is coming. In any case, here are some ways that biometrics are being used to help solve crimes in the real world – today and in the very near future.

1. More accurate fingerprinting makes a big difference at crime scene investigations. Fingerprints are still more accurate than facial recognition for identifying individuals, and the FBI has spent more than $1.2 billion to replace its older fingerprint matching system, the Integrated Automated Fingerprint ID System (IAFIS) with its Next Generation Identification (NGI). In NGI the ten-print system has been significantly improved because of a more powerful server farm and enhanced recognition algorithms. The matching accuracy rate has risen from 92 percent to 99 percent, and the average response time has dropped from two hours to ten minutes – at least under controlled conditions, such as at a police booking station. However, latent fingerprints – the fingerprints found at a crime scene – are considerably more difficult to match. The old system, IAFIS, had an accuracy rate of only 25% and wasn’t very effective for investigators. But the upgraded NGI capabilities launched in May 2013 have had an accuracy rate well above 80 percent for latent prints. And once again that is due to an improved algorithm that takes advantage of more computer power, according to Jon Kevin Reid, assistant section chief in the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division.

2. Palm capture gives investigators an additional investigative tool. The FBI launched a national palm-print database in May 2013, which is expected to be a big help to investigators, as palm prints are left at crime scenes 30 percent of the time. “There will be significant leads around cold cases that we couldn’t have gotten before,” the FBI’s Reid says. Getting the system up and running has been a bit of a challenge because some states, such as Michigan, have been running palm prints for several years, but the FBI has imposed requirements on palm print submissions that most states aren’t meeting. NGI requires that in palm capture, the entire hand must be captured, not just the palm as states such as Michigan had been doing. Running the entire hand is crucial so it can be matched to fingerprints in the database. In addition many local and state law enforcement agencies will have to upgrade their equipment. Once these kinks are worked out law enforcement agencies will have yet another tool for crime solving.

3. Facial recognition is providing good investigative leads, and will only get better as the technology improves. Despite the flashy displays of facial recognition technology on the crime shows, face recognition is a far from perfect way to make a positive identification of a suspect. As noted above, fingerprints are still more accurate. Nevertheless in 2012 the FBI launched the Interstate Photo System Facial Recognition Pilot project in three states, and as of June 2014 the system was fully deployed. It allows participating law enforcement organizations to use face recognition to search against more than 15 million mug shots, returning a ranked list of potential matches by using algorithms to search for a match. The system matches the photo taken at the booking station or from a crime scene with mug shots in the NGI database that have a high probability of being a match. At the very best it is 80 percent accurate, but since the quality of mug shots varies so widely the accuracy rate is often significantly lower. But the Michigan State Police have found facial recognition to be very beneficial in attempting to identify unknown subjects who commit crimes of identity theft and fraud, according to Pete Langenfeld, manager of the department’s digital image analysis section. Even so, he cautions, “Any candidate derived from a facial recognition search should be considered an investigative lead only, and not positive identification.” That said, as more agencies adapt facial recognition and learn to standardize the quality of their mug shots with facial recognition technology in mind, accuracy should improve.

4. DNA can identify the guilty and exonerate the innocent. It wouldn’t be a crime show without a scene where a defiant suspect is obliged to submit to a DNA swab. Indeed, DNA has been a powerful tool for crime solving, and is generally used to solve crimes in one of two ways. When a suspect is identified, a sample of his or her DNA can be compared to evidence from the crime scene. When a suspect has not yet been identified, biological evidence from the crime scene can be analyzed and compared to offender profiles in DNA databases in order to help identify the perpetrator. In addition, crime scene evidence can be linked to other crime scenes through the use of DNA databases. Not only can DNA evidence identify the offender, it can also exonerate someone who was wrongfully accused.

5. Iris recognition, gait recognition and scent detection: the future is (almost) now. The FBI’s NGI system is gearing up to also incorporate iris detection, and, in the future, gait recognition and scent detection. Although some of these biometric markers have limited use in crime scene investigation – for instance, irises are rarely left at crime scenes – these additional tools can help law enforcement quickly identify criminals and terrorists in the U.S. and around the world.

Biometrics is continually being improved, with new applications being developed. Naturally there are numerous concerns and controversies about biometrics, including privacy issues and potential abuse of the technology, as well as accuracy concerns. But advocates believe that the benefits outweigh the risk. In any case biometrics is here to stay, and for those who work in crime solving, that’s a very good thing.

For an enlightening overview of biometrics history and some modern-day applications, see this PowerPoint presentation from a keynote delivered by Michigan State University’s Anil Jain at the International Conference on Biometrics in Madrid, Spain on June 5, 2013.

For more information and resources, visit the web site of the Biometrics Institute, an international organization that represents and connects biometric user organizations, vendors and researchers.

Author Byline:
This guest post is contributed by Rebecca Gray, who writes for Backgroundchecks.org. She welcomes your comments at her email id: GrayRebecca14@gmail.com.