Clarkson prof tackles fake fingerprints with new software

September 18, 2012 - 

Think you can spoof a fingerprint scanner? Clarkson University professor Stephanie Schuckers has developed unique software to improve liveness detection and detect fakes.

Concerned with the increase in fingerprint fakers, Schuckers, a professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department at Clarkson University has taken the task of identifying fake fingerprints into her own hands, the Watertown Daily Times reported.

“The information about how to fake a device is pretty readily known.  There have been cases where people have been caught” Schuckers said. “A scanner has no way of knowing if you’ve faked the device.  We really don’t have a good sense of how often it’s happened.”

The technology she’s developed, called NexID, is currently in market.  When fingerprints are captured using fingerprint scanners, an image is taken and stored in a database for use when matching later on.  Fake fingerprints leave different patterns compared to that of a real fingerprint.  Schuckers software can detect the difference.

“A lot of information about you is out there.  Where biometrics comes in is maybe it makes things easier for us.”

While biometrics may not guarantee a more secure world, particularly considering the threat of database hacks and individual spoofing, there is still room for innovation and improvement. For Schuckers, it’s all about recognizing vulnerabilities.

“We need to recognize what those vulnerabilities are and make a decision about what level of security we desire,” she said.

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About T'ash Spenser

T’ash Spencer writes full time for She has 15 years experience in the field of regional planning and earned her Master’s of Science in Regional Development Planning and Management from the University of Dortmund, Germany. Follow her @tashspencer1.