Clever people can fool most sophisticated biometrics

Friday, 14 June 2002, 12:50 PM EST

The idea is this: Instead of logging on to your computer using a password that you can't remember and have to write on the back of an envelope, which you leave on Metro to be found by a spy, you put your finger on a little reader attached to your computer. It reads your fingerprint, compares it with your stored print and decides that you are really you.

The iris scanner does the same thing, but with your eyes. Irises have unique patterns. Presumably anyone with your eyes is you. A third approach is face recognition. Lots of money goes into buying these technologies. They're certainly a cute idea, should they work. The manufacturers tend to say they work. Do they?

The Fraunhofer Research Institute in Darmstadt, Germany, set out to see whether it could fool these systems.

Answer: Yes. Easily.

[ Read more ]

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