Professor Stephanie Schuckers of Clarkson University is a “Spoofing Expert.” We thought that meant she wrote for the Daily Show, but it turns out she tests futuristic means of identification of fraud.
You’ve seen this in sci-fi movies: A fingerprint scan is needed to break into headquarters, so the bad guy cuts off the CEO’s hand. Well, Shuckers’ scanners won’t be so easily fooled:
Fingerprint scanning devices often use basic technology, such as an optical camera that take pictures of fingerprints which are then “read” by a computer. In order to assess how vulnerable the scanners are to spoofing, Schuckers and her research team made casts from live fingers using dental materials and used Play-Doh to create molds. They also assembled a collection of cadaver fingers.
In the laboratory, the researchers then systematically tested more than 60 of the faked samples. The results were a 90 percent false verification rate.
“The machines could not distinguish between a live sample and a fake one,” Schuckers explained. “Since liveness detection is based on the recognition of physiological activities as signs of life, we hypothesized that fingerprint images from live fingers would show a specific changing moisture pattern due to perspiration but cadaver and spoof fingerprint images would not.”
In live fingers, perspiration starts around the pore, and spreads along the ridges, creating a distinct signature of the process. Schuckers and her research team designed a computer algorithm that would detect this pattern when reading a fingerprint image. With the new detection system integrated into the device, less than 10 percent of the spoofed samples were able to fool the machine.
Here’s a pretty thorough list of movies that use biometric scans.