Researchers find way to Reverse-engineer Digital Iris Codes, Fool Iris-recognition Systems

How will this be possible? Well, it seems that the academics have managed to find a way of recreating iris images that match the digital iris codes stored in database of iris-recognition systems in use today. The artificial replica images so created can fool even the commercial iris-recognition systems and help malicious users thwart identification at international border crossings or gain access to restricted and confidential areas guarded by such biometric systems.

Similar work has already been done in this field and scientists were able to create iris images that were having all the characteristics of real iris images. So what makes this particular research different? It turns out that previous images had all the characteristics of real iris images, but they were not connected to real people. The iris images were able to trick iris-recognition system into believing that the images were real but impersonation wasn’t possible.

This is where the new research differs and in fact is a step ahead. The iris-codes present in the databases were reverse engineered to create iris images such that they closely matched the eye images of real people. This opens the door for impersonation.

Javier Galbally, one of the researchers at the Biometric Recognition Group-ATVS, at the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid along with researchers from West Virginia University, said, “The idea is to generate the iris image, and once you have the image you can actually print it and show it to the recognition system, and it will say ‘okay, this is the [right] guy.’” notes Wired.