A $100,000 award from the National Institute of Standards and Technology will help West Virginia University biometric researchers evaluate and reduce vulnerabilities in biometric security systems.

The award is for a project titled, “Evaluation of Anti-Spoofing Approaches for Fingerprint Biometric Recognition Systems,” which is being conducted in the WVU College of Engineering and Mineral Resources. Arun Ross, an associate professor in the Lane Department of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering, is the principal investigator.

Spoofing is the process by which a fake biometric trait, such as a fake fingerprint generated using PlayDoh, gelatin or latex, is used to circumvent the security offered by a biometric system. These “fake” artifacts can undermine the operation of a biometric system and create security risks.

Biometric researchers have started developing anti-spoofing technology, which can either detect spoofing attempts or make it difficult for an impostor to spoof a biometric trait. In this project, WVU’s research team, in collaboration with Clarkson University, will develop a scientific framework that will allow them to evaluate the effectiveness of these anti-spoofing algorithms and to make assessments of a system’s biometric vulnerability.

“This project will result in a scientific process for evaluating anti-spoofing technologies,” said Ross. “It is very important that the loopholes in a biometric system are systematically studied, analyzed and documented. This project is a step in that direction.”

Biometric systems have been used in several various applications ranging from personal laptop access control to national border security systems. If impostors can outsmart these systems by using fake biometric traits, then the cost to national security can be tremendous. A systematic assessment of anti-spoofing algorithms is essential for maintaining the integrity of large- and small-scale biometric systems.

Dr. Stephanie Schuckers is the lead project investigator at Clarkson University.

NIST is a non-regulatory federal agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST’s mission is to promote U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve quality of life.



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Mary Dillon
Communications, Marketing and Public Relations
College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
(304) 293-4086