Why Anti-Spoofing is at the Heart of Biometric Technology

The launch of the new Apple iPhone was met with much excitement back in 2014. This edition of the world’s most popular smartphone showcased an exciting new security feature: a fingerprint sensor which could authenticate the identity of the phone’s user. However, hackers were quick to develop a means of hacking the security, by creating an imitation finger complete with falsified fingerprint. This could be used to unlock the smartphone and, thereby, allow the criminal to access the mobile phone owner’s private accounts and files.

The Rise of Anti-Spoofing Technology

As a result of the events at Apple, anti-spoofing technology has become a critical component of any biometric authentication method. One technique in anti-spoofing is known as liveness detection, which, as the name suggests, involves determining whether the biometric sample provided (such as a face or fingerprint) is real, or a false representation (such as a photo or an artificial finger). This is achieved through the use of advanced algorithms, which analyze data collected from millions of biometric sensors, in order to compare how real and falsified biometric marker samples behave.

Anti-spoofing technology is now in widespread use, found at border control kiosks at locations such as airports (where the growing use of biometric passports makes anti-spoofing measures essential to ensure safe travel for all). It is increasingly prevalent in devices such as laptops, smartphones, and the biometric payment card.

Ensuring a Superb Customer Experience

Whilst anti-spoofing technology is rightly viewed as an essential element of any secure biometric authentication system, it should never be implemented at the expense of the customer experience. Any authentication technique should be quick and simple to use, making the process as convenient as possible for the user. After all, convenience is a key driver for many consumer trends, such as the continued dominance of contactless payments.

A technical challenge for the biometric payment card is that all of the anti-spoofing technology must be built into the card itself. However, once overcome this in fact provides a security benefit for the user, as their personal data will be stored locally rather than in the cloud, where it may be at risk from hackers.

A Biometric Payment Card Is The Solution

As well as ensuring a secure defence against fraudulent misuse or theft, a contactless payment card with a fingerprint sensor improves the customer experience in other significant ways. With a fingerprint sensor to authenticate the card user’s identity, there is no longer the need to remember a PIN or password, and transaction limits may be safely removed.

To fulfil the requirements of secure multi-factor authentication, a user needs only present their payment card whilst touching the sensor built into it. This greatly speeds up transaction times and creates a simple, seamless, and highly convenient customer experience. A customer can just “tap and go”, whilst feeling confident that their data and money are being robustly protected.