• CybersecurityUsing smartphones — instead of body parts — for identification to deter cybercrime

    Not comfortable with Face ID and other biometrics? This cybersecurity advancement may be for you. Researchers have discovered how to identify smartphones by examining just one photo taken by the device. The advancement opens the possibility of using smartphones — instead of body parts — as a form of identification to deter cybercrime.

  • Identity authenticationSoftware verifies someone’s identity by their DNA in minutes

    In the science-fiction movie “Gattaca,” visitors only clear security if a blood test and readout of their genetic profile matches the sample on file. Now, cheap DNA sequencers and custom software could make real-time DNA-authentication a reality. Researchers have developed a method to quickly and accurately identify people and cell lines from their DNA. The technology could have multiple applications, from identifying victims in a mass disaster to analyzing crime scenes.

  • BiometricsA better way to identify gait differences

    Biometric-based person recognition methods have been extensively explored for various applications, such as access control, surveillance, and forensics. Gait is a practical trait for video-based surveillance and forensics because it can be captured at a distance on video. In fact, gait recognition has been already used in practical cases in criminal investigations. However, gait recognition is susceptible to intra-subject variations, such as view angle, clothing, walking speed, shoes, and carrying status. Such hindering factors have prompted many researchers to explore new approaches with regard to these variations.

  • CybersecurityThe challenge of authenticating real humans in a digital world

    By Jungwoo Ryoo

    There are three main ways of proving an identity. One involves something you know – like a password or your mother’s maiden name. A second method of authentication is with something you have – such as a key to your home’s front door or a smart card to swipe at work. A third way is by digitally authenticating the individual human being – who you are – with some aspect of your biology. This increasing dependence on digital authentication may actually result in less security. While cameras, sensors and other devices can make authentication easier for people to accomplish, they carry their own weaknesses. It may be more convenient, and even more secure, than a magnetic strip on a plastic card in your wallet. But the potential dangers will require much higher security for private information, particularly biometric data. A real identity still comes down to flesh and blood.

  • ForensicsScientific basis of fingerprints too weak for legal certainty

    It may surprise many, especially those susceptible to the CSI effect, but fingerprint evidence is not conclusive beyond a reasonable doubt. A new American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) working group report on the quality of latent fingerprint analysis says that courtroom testimony and reports stating or even implying that fingerprints collected from a crime scene belong to a single person are indefensible and lack scientific foundation.

  • Airport securityTouch-free fingerprint scanners

    Balancing speed and security at the airport is essential to ensuring safe, reliable travel. DHS S&T and TSA are evaluating new identity verification technology that can reduce the time it takes for travelers to pass through security. The touch-free scanners allow a traveler’s fingerprints to serve as their boarding pass and identity document.

  • IdentificationRapid DNA technology verifies relationships after mass casualty events

    Rapid DNA technology developed by DHS S&T has recently been used to identify simulated “victims” in several mass casualty exercises across the United States. The technology greatly expedites the testing of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the only biometric that can accurately verify family relationships.

  • Facial recognitionGermany testing face-recognition software to help police spot terrorists

    Germany will be testing facial recognition software at a Berlin train station this summer to see whether it can assist police identify terror suspects more quickly. Volunteers will help police test the software at Berlin’s Suedkreuz station. If the test is successful, the use of the biometric software would be expanded to other locations, and also used to help police identify criminals, not only people suspected of terrorist activities.

  • Online profilesNew tool spots fake online profiles

    People who use fake profiles online could be more easily identified, thanks to a new tool developed by computer scientists. Researchers have trained computer models to spot social media users who make up information about themselves — known as catfishes. The system is designed to identify users who are dishonest about their age or gender. Scientists believe it could have potential benefits for helping to ensure the safety of social networks.

  • Face recognitionFace Recognition Challenge seeks better face-identification software

    Have you developed software to identity faces in general web photographs? Can your software verify that a face in one photograph is the same as in another? The Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) announced the launch of the Face Recognition Prize Challenge (FRPC). The challenge aims to improve biometric face recognition by improving core face recognition accuracy.

  • ForgeriesThwarting forgery with paper fingerprints

    Designing secure documents that provide high levels of security against forgery is a long-standing problem. Even in today’s digital age, this problem remains important as paper is still the most common form of proving authenticity – such as receipts, contracts, certificates and passports. Fingerprinting official documents could provide a cost-effective way to prevent forgery, new research shows.

  • Biometric securityPartial fingerprints sufficient to trick biometric security systems on smartphones

    No two people are believed to have identical fingerprints, but researchers have found that partial similarities between prints are common enough that the fingerprint-based security systems used in mobile phones and other electronic devices can be more vulnerable than previously thought.

  • BiometricsAging affects the performance of automatic facial recognition systems

    Images of our faces exist in numerous important databases – driver’s license, passport, law enforcement, employment – all to accurately identify us. But can these images continue to identify us as we age? Biometrics experts set out to investigate what extent facial aging affects the performance of automatic facial recognition systems and what implications it could have on successfully identifying criminals or determining when identification documents need to be renewed.

  • PrivacyLegacy travel booking systems do not protect travelers’ private information

    Travel bookings worldwide are maintained in a handful of systems. The three largest — Global Distributed Systems (GDS) Amadeus, Sabre, and Travelport — administer more than 90 percent of flight reservations as well as numerous hotel, car, and other travel bookings. The most important security feature lacking from all three GDSs is a proper way to authenticate travelers.

  • ForensicsIt is time to stop using bite marks in forensics: Experts

    Forensic dentists claim that they can accurately associate a bite mark to the one and only set of teeth in the world that could have produced the crime scene bite mark. There is, however, no sound basis for believing that forensic dentists can do such a thing, and researchers are increasingly skeptical about the validity of bite-mark identification as trial evidence.