Liveness Detection, a Necessity To Boost The Security Of Biometric System

Biometric technology has been gaining tractions in the past years. Nevertheless, in order to fuel its public acceptance, it is of utmost importance that it needs to ensure a maximum level of security.

In comparison to traditional methods such as passwords and pin login, biometrics is said to be unique to each person even in a twin and with high level of security and accuracy, biometrics is claimed to redefine the future of authentication. However, spoofing in the form of a non-human or fake representation of a valid user is completely different. One of the most notable incidents happening is the case that Iphone’s Face ID was bypassed by a picture made by a $150 mask made by Vietnamese cybersecurity firm Bkav in 2017. In another note, Jan Krissler faked German minister’s fingerprints using photos of her hands. Such event has raised accelerating concerns on the trustworthy level of biometric system and hindered the mainstream adoption of biometrics in real world. More than ever, bypassing a biometric system using non-human elements has turned into a major pitfall that many biometric vendors has been vying to find the solution which is called livesness detection.


Liveness detection can simply be defined as the ability of a biometric system to distinguish the difference between the spoof and a real person. Securing automated and unsupervised biometric system is one of the most critical and most challenging tasks in real world scenarios. There is a variety of ways to detect liveness by utilizing the properties of living body such as: blood flow, precipitation, pulse, blood pressure, thermal, hippus (pupil movement), saccade (eye movement); or by utilizing bodily response to external stimuli that requires user involvement such as: blink the eyes, smile or speak a phrase at a specific time. Recently we’ve seen numerous innovations in anti-spoofing tech, particularly with the advent of new kinds of fingerprint tech to prevent false acceptance and increase security. Taking example of few biometric leaders in this field, IriTech, a US based iris recognition provider revealed that they were the first to be granted the patent of liveness detection for iris. To be more specific, the company aims to detect live iris through utilizing algorithm to detect human movements in real-time manner including blinking iris or pupil reaction which could not be found in a dumb iris. According to Dr Daniel Kim, CEO/President of the company, such breakthrough achievement would propel a widespread adoption of iris biometrics in real world especially in various verticals like commercial, banking, payment and healthcare. Other prominent biometric vendors including Ever Al and BioID, US based companies have added liveness detection for their facial recognition products in 2018 to boost the security of their facial recognition system.

The necessity of an anti-spoofing system is of particular significance to prevent vulnerabilities of biometric systems and boost the confidence of users in vast industries to deploy biometric system.