Liveness detection secures mobile payments

liveness detection fake fingerprint precise biometrics

As mobile payments and e-commerce are gaining momentum, so are fraud and spoofing via fake fingerprints. Spoof-mitigation via so called liveness detection is a necessity for the biometrics industry to enable secure and trustworthy mobile payments. That is why Precise Biometrics is expanding its industry leading fingerprint software with a comprehensive solution for liveness detection. 

Media has lately reported about the ease of copying fingerprints to access mobile devices.  A researcher from Japan’s National Institute of Informatics issued an attention-drawing warning that fingerprints can be stolen from pictures on the web after having copied someone’s fingerprints from a “peace sign” selfie. To create a fake finger made from wax or Play-Doh based on an image of a person’s fingerprint is not too complicated. One effective counter measure against this menace is liveness detection, which is the real-time ability to determine if the biometric characteristics presented to a sensor are genuine and not fake.

Liveness detection is expected to become a necessity for the biometrics industry. 92 percent of the professionals in biometrics and identity related industries agreed in a recent poll that improved liveness detection should be a priority. The poll, carried out by the trade publication Find Biometrics, indicate a major emphasis shift in the market towards security and fraud-mitigation.

The main reason for the shift in focus is the rapid growth in mobile payments and e-commerce. Biometrics Research Group projects the use of biometrics in the financial market to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 50 percent to 2020. In fact, 60 percent of all transactions are expected to be performed via biometric authentication by 2020, primarily via fingerprint sensors in mobile devices.

At the same time, fraud and identify theft present a growing threat to the mobile payment market. About seven percent of all persons at age 16 or older have been victims of identity theft (US Department of Justice). This is where fingerprint-spoofing comes in.

“Virtually all fingerprint sensors that are not protected by liveness detection software, are vulnerable to spoofing via fake fingers”, says Stephanie Schuckers a world-leading authority in Liveness Detection, serving as director of the US Center for Identification Technology Research (CITeR) and an advisor to Precise Biometrics.

“Fraud-mitigation through liveness detection is crucial for both consumers and providers of financial services in order to perform secure mobile payments. Users might even accept slight more latency in exchange for a higher level of security when using their fingerprint to access a payment application in the smartphone”, says Håkan Persson, CEO of Precise Biometrics.

Precise Biometrics is broadening its industry leading fingerprint software with a comprehensive solution for liveness detection through the acquisition of the US-based company NexID Biometrics, an expert in anti-spoofing software.

Precise Biometrics is now integrating an algorithm solution that can spot a fake fingerprint with 94 to 98 percent’s accuracy by analysing several fundamental image differences between a live fingerprint and a spoof.

“Combining and integrating a patented anti-spoofing capability into Precise Biometrics fingerprint matching software, will result in an effective solution for fraud-mitigation while maintaining high biometric performance”, says Håkan Persson.

“By adding anti-spoof functionality to our offering we are providing enhanced security that meets customer demand, addresses future security requirements and emerging standards for biometric authentication”, Håkan Persson continues.