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Stolen body part can be reused
De l'usage de morceau de cadavre

Some movies show biometric systems spoofed by a cut finger, an eyeball at the end of a pencil or a cut hand. Can this happen in the real life, or is it just a movie effect to impress people?

This is an extension of spoof detection. If a fake is difficult to make, it seems simpler to directly use the original biometric trait, success rate should be higher. This is the case most of the time, and biometric systems must add what is called aliveness detection.

Aliveness detection is a difficult problem to solve, with generally expensive solutions, and very few systems are able to perform this task. This is (at the moment) a very rare menace, and the cost of the object to protect must justify the additional cost. Also, punishement related to a cut finger is much more higher than the simple password theft.

Moreover, only unattented systems are concerned, as a guard will check that you don't show a fake in the attended case.

Finding a reliable and cheap aliveness detector is a major task of biometric designers for the future.

Certains films montrent des systèmes biométriques bernés par un doigt coupé, un globe oculaire au bout d'un crayon ou une main coupée. Est-ce réellement possible, ou n'est-ce qu'un effet destiné à impressionner le spectateur?

Il s'agit ici de l'extension de la détection de faux. Si un faux est difficile à réaliser, il parait plus simple de directement utiliser l'élément biométrique original, les chances de succès devraient être plus importantes. C'est effectivement le cas, et il faudra que les systèmes biométriques aient ce qu'on peut appeler un détecteur de vitalité.

La détection de vitalité est un problème difficile à résoudre, avec des solutions plutôt chères, et actuellement peu de systèmes peuvent effectivement l'effectuer. Il faut aussi se rendre compte que c'est une menace très rare, et que le coût de détection doit être mis en regard de ce que l'on veut protéger. Et la punition pour un doigt coupé est bien plus importante que le simple vol d'un password.

De plus, cela n'est valable que pour les systèmes non surveillés, car c'est un garde qui veillera à ce que vous ne présentiez pas un faux dans les autres cas.

Trouver un détecteur de vitalité fiable et peu couteux est un challenge que l'industrie biométrique doit relever pour être crédible dans le futur.


CRUEL ACT: Kumaran showing what is left of his left index finger. — NST picture by Mohd Said Samad. CRUEL ACT: Kumaran showing what is left of his left index finger. — NST picture by Mohd Said Samad.

(2005 Mar) Is this a sign of the maturity of biometrics? Well, to my best knowledge, the very first official case of the use of a body part happened in Malaysia end of March 2005, where a team of carjackers on the prowl in Subang Jaya chopped off part of the left index finger when they realised that the S-Class Mercedes Benz had a security feature which would immobilise the car without his fingerprint.

There is no limit to stupidity: even with a reliable cut finger detection, it is likely that this will happen again, just because "they don't know", at least that it possible to enroll somebody else...

Imagine if it was an iris recognition system, as proposed here!


fingerprints altered using skin taken from foot A man caught while attempting to illegally enter the United States had his fingerprints altered using skin taken from his foot in an attempt to foil fingerprint identification systems.

Absolute security? Liveness detection?
Uh! Oh! Let's talk again...

(2006 May) (from Office of the United States Attorney / District of Arizona)

TUCSON, Ariz. – Marc Terrance George, 41, of Jamaica, was sentenced here today by U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson to 13 months in prison, to be followed by deportation, after he pleaded guilty on February 27, 2006 of illegal entry after deportation.

George attempted to enter the U.S. illegally on September 24, 2005 through the Nogales, Ariz. Port of Entry during which time U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers noted that his fingerprints had been surgically replaced with skin from his feet. George stated that this procedure had been done to “clean” his identity by a doctor in Phoenix.

"This case demonstrates what extraordinary and drastic measures people will take to enter our country illegally,” stated U.S. Attorney Paul K. Charlton. “It proves as well that our fingerprint identification systems have gained a significant reputation in the criminal world.”

Prior to deportation, George will be extradited to the State of New Jersey to face money laundering charges in state court in that jurisdiction.

The investigation in this case was conducted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The prosecution was handled by Danny Roetzel, Assistant U.S. Attorney, District of Arizona, Tucson, Ariz.



Well, that was not so smart as a blind search will find the fingerprint, left or right. The mexican case with the use of the toes was a little bit smarter.

(2009 Dec) (from BBC News / 7 December 2009)

Fake fingerprint' Chinese woman fools Japan controls

A Chinese woman managed to enter Japan illegally by having plastic surgery to alter her fingerprints, thus fooling immigration controls, police claim.

Lin Rong, 27, had previously been deported from Japan for overstaying her visa. She was only discovered when she was arrested on separate charges.

Tokyo police said she had paid $15,000 (£9,000) to have the surgery in China.

It is Japan's first case of alleged biometric fraud, but police believe the practice may be widespread.

Japanese police suspect Chinese brokers of taking huge sums to modify fingerprints surgically.

Local media reports said Ms Lin had undergone surgery to swap the fingerprints from her right and left hands.

Skin patches on her thumbs and index fingers were removed and then re-grafted on to the matching digits of the opposite hand.

Japanese newspapers said police had noticed that Ms Lin's fingers had unnatural scars when she was arrested last month for allegedly faking a marriage to a Japanese man.

The apparent ability of illegal migration networks to break through hi-tech controls suggests that other countries who fingerprint visitors could be equally vulnerable - not least the United States, according to BBC Asia analyst Andre Vornic.


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