Meeting: Security and Privacy Enhancement in Biometrics

Greater Hartford ACM Chapter will be hosting its fall meeting on November 2nd at CCSU. Distinguished ACM speaker Dr. Ratha will be giving a talk on “Security and Privacy Enhancement in Biometrics”.

Note: Meeting is free and open to non-ACM members.

Date: November 2nd @ 6:30

002 Vance Hall

Central Connecticut State University

1615 Stanley Street, New Britain, CT 06050

A parking garage, a.k.a. “Vance Garage” is attached to Vance Hall. It is open to public in the evening (after 5 p.m.). The entrance to the parking garage is found on “Paul Manafort Drive.” You can see it on the interactive map at here.

After parking your car, enter the building, then go down one floor. The classroom is in the basement. The room number is “002”.


Biometrics, as an authentication tool, provides several advantages over conventional what you know (e.g., password, PIN) and what you possess (e.g., keys, tokens) authentication methods. It is commonly believed that biometrics when introduced in an authentication system can improve the overall security of the system. Based on a pattern recognition model of biometrics-based authentication system, we argue that when properly designed a biometrics-based authentication system can be highly secure. We identify several attack points in a biometrics-based authentication system and propose counter measures to thwart the attacks. With the improved awareness of the possible attacks, systems incorporating biometrics can be built with higher security.

A biometrics is also an irrevocable password as we can’t change the biometrics easily. If it is compromised digitally, it is compromised for ever. Secondly, a biometrics can be easily matched against multiple databases to link identities. In order to alleviate privacy deficiencies of biometrics, IBM Research has pioneered a new technique for protecting biometrics templates that can allow for revocation and anonymous sharing. Instead of enrolling with the true biometrics, the original signal/template is intentionally and repeatably distorted using a class of non-invertible functions. The resulting “transformed” biometrics is enrolled. During verification, the same distortion transformation is applied to the biometrics signal/template to match against the enrolled template. The proposed method supports revocability and permits anonymous matching where biometrics data sharing is prohibited.


Dr. Nalini K. Ratha is a Research Staff Member at IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center, Yorktown Heights, NY where he is the team leader for the biometrics-based authentication research. He has over 20 years of experience in the industry working in the area of pattern recognition, computer vision and image processing. He received his B. Tech. in Elelectrical Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, M.Tech. degree in Computer Science and Engineering also from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and Ph. D. in Computer Science from Michigan State University. He has authored more than 80 research papers in the area of biometrics and has been co-chair of several leading biometrics conferences and served on the editorial boards of IEEE Trans. on PAMI, IEEE Trans. on SMC-B, IEEE Trans. on Image Processing and Pattern Recognition journal. He has co-authored a popular book on biometrics entitled “Guide to Biometrics” and also co-edited two books entitled “Automatic Fingerprint Recognition Systems” and “Advances in Biometrics: Sensors, Algorithms and Systems”. He has offered tutorials on biometrics technology at leading IEEE conferences and also teaches courses on biometrics and security. He is Fellow of IEEE, Fellow of IAPR and a senior member for ACM. His research interests include biometrics, pattern recognition and computer vision. He has been an adjunct professor at IIIT Delhi, Cooper Union and NYU-Poly. During 2011-2012 he was the president of the IEEE Biometrics Council. At IBM, he has received several awards including a Research Division Award, Outstanding Innovation Award and Outstanding Technical Accomplishment Award along with several patent achievement awards.

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