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USPTO publishes Apple patent application addressing biometric spoofing


The USPTO has just published a new anti-spoofing concept and patent application from Apple.

The new anti-spoofing concept – called Doodle – describes a method of distinguishing between “push” and “pull” swipes from the finger to capture a larger more comprehensive image of the finger, besides just ridges and valleys.

According to a report in Patently Apple, this can also be configured to generate the “doodle” created by the finger’s motion on the device’s screen, and could also be used for games.

This represents two interesting developments: one, that Apple could be beginning to consider using the fingerprint sensor for more than iTunes purchase authentication and device unlocking (ie, for games); and two, that the company is responding to some of the criticisms that have surfaced around the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and its ability to recognize fingerprints.

That being said, this was filed in December 2013, and is only an application, so it’s unlikely it would show up in devices any time soon.

View the patent application, Electronic Device for Collecting Finger Data and Displaying a Finger Movement Trace and Related Methods online at the USPTO website.

This also probably doesn’t mean that the fingerprint sensor will be opened up for third-party development in the near future – especially for authentication and fingerprint recognition – but it could mean that the sensor can be used as a navigation device or controller for other applications.

Another way to read this is that Apple will alter its current fingerprint authentication system by requiring a more complex swipe – or “doodle” – to encourage more skin to touch the sensor, making it more complicated to create a fake fingerprint. This could mean that authentication will be less about the fingerprint and more about the finger itself.

Reported previously in BiometricUpdate.com, shortly after launch last year, the iPhone 5S fingerprint sensor was spoofed with a fake fingerprint made of wood glue.

Earlier this week, reports surfaced to say that the embedded fingerprint sensor in Samsung’s Galaxy S5, which has also just launched, had been spoofed using the same wood glue hack. 

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