In my last post on The Future of Secure Authentication: Biometrics, a comment came in from Jens-Uwe Dzikowski who referenced an article in the recent Hitachi Research website entitled: Making Society Safe and Convenient with High-Precision Walkthrough Finger Vein Authentication : Research & Development.
This describes the research being done to provide a walk through Finger Vein authentication in .3 seconds which makes it possible for use in high traffic situations. According to the international Journal of Advances in Science and Technology which I referenced in my last post, finger vein has the highest accuracy, long term stability, and security level compared to other biometrics such as facial recognition, iris scan, finger print, and voice recognition. Finger vein patterns are created in the womb and do not change as we age. Hitachi Finger vein technology is proven technology. It was introduced in Japan in 2002 for ATMs and while ATMs are the biggest use case, it has been used for other applications like access control, claims verification, and time and attendance management in Europe, Asia, and Asia Pacific. Barclay’s bank provides UK corporate banking customers with a finger vein biometric authentication dongle that attaches to a USB slot on their PC and lets them “easily access their online bank accounts and authorize payments within seconds, without the need for PIN, passwords or authentication codes”. With finger vein there is no need for two factor authentication. However, up to now, it required people to stop and place their finger on a fixed location, with an infrared light above the finger that shines through so that the image of blood in the veins can be captured.
Although finger prints are not as accurate or secure as finger vein, finger prints have been considered easier to use and subsequently has higher market acceptance. Finger print authentication often requires two factor authentication such as an ID card or photo. Now Hitachi researchers have found a way to read finger veins by passing your hand over an L-shaped scanner using an array light source of multiple LEDs, making it possible to expose the fingers to near-infrared rays no matter where the fingers are. Also since you scan all five fingers, you can authenticate as long as three of the five finger’s vein patterns match providing very high accuracy despite the open environment. Now it is more convenient and faster to use than finger print scanners, while still providing higher accuracy and security without the need for two factor authentication.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit the research lab where this walkthrough finger vein authentication is being developed. I was able to register my finger veins in less than half a minute by scanning my hand 3 times. Once I was registered I was able to pass through with a single scan. My colleague from Asia Pacific was very excited to see this demonstration since there is a growing demand for high volume biometric authentication in his region. The uniqueness and accuracy of the finger vein may eliminate the need for two factor authentication and the non-contact scanning eliminates the health concerns associated with finger print scanning, where you press your fingers on a plate that has been touched by hundreds of people before you.
Currently this is being tested for entry control in a Hitachi building in Tokyo. Instead of scanning their employee badge, employees pass their hands over a finger vein reader. This prototype processes 60 to 80 persons per minute per unit. While walkthrough is currently in development, other finger vein devices are available today from Hitachi. Businesses should know about the advantages of this biometric technology and consider it in their security planning.
This new twist in high precision, walkthrough finger vein authentication, will make it easier to use where individuals in large queues need to be authenticated, at transportation centers, concerts, hospitals, kiosks, etc. If you register your finger vein with an electronic wallet you could also use your finger vein in place of a debit/credit card. This could provide better security for vending machines users. Avanti Markets, a provider of vending machine kiosks, was hacked earlier this month, with malware that infected 1900 of its vending machines and stole the names, payment card data, and finger print data of some 1.9 million users.
With finger vein, you eliminate the need for a name and payment card data and if they steal your finger vein pattern, you’re the only one who can use it because you need a live finger with blood in the veins for it to work. With the increasing number of hack attacks and terrorism threats, the time is right for high precision, walkthrough finger vein authentication.
You can hear more about this and other social innovation solutions at our NEXT 2017 users conference, Sept 18-20 in Mandalay Bay, Las Vegas. Click on the website for NEXT 2017 and register today to attend this conference.