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Proceedings Article

Biometric template transformation: a security analysis

[+] Author Affiliations
Abhishek Nagar

Michigan State Univ. (USA)

Karthik Nandakumar

A*STAR Institute for Infocomm Research (Singapore)

Anil K. Jain

Michigan State Univ. (USA) and Korea Univ. (Korea, Republic of)

Proc. SPIE 7541, Media Forensics and Security II, 75410O (January 27, 2010); doi:10.1117/12.839976
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From Conference Volume 7541

  • Media Forensics and Security II
  • Nasir D. Memon; Jana Dittmann; Adnan M. Alattar; Edward J. Delp III
  • San Jose, California | January 17, 2010


One of the critical steps in designing a secure biometric system is protecting the templates of the users that are stored either in a central database or on smart cards. If a biometric template is compromised, it leads to serious security and privacy threats because unlike passwords, it is not possible for a legitimate user to revoke his biometric identifiers and switch to another set of uncompromised identifiers. One methodology for biometric template protection is the template transformation approach, where the template, consisting of the features extracted from the biometric trait, is transformed using parameters derived from a user specific password or key. Only the transformed template is stored and matching is performed directly in the transformed domain. In this paper, we formally investigate the security strength of template transformation techniques and define six metrics that facilitate a holistic security evaluation. Furthermore, we analyze the security of two wellknown template transformation techniques, namely, Biohashing and cancelable fingerprint templates based on the proposed metrics. Our analysis indicates that both these schemes are vulnerable to intrusion and linkage attacks because it is relatively easy to obtain either a close approximation of the original template (Biohashing) or a pre-image of the transformed template (cancelable fingerprints). We argue that the security strength of template transformation techniques must consider also consider the computational complexity of obtaining a complete pre-image of the transformed template in addition to the complexity of recovering the original biometric template.

© (2010) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.

Abhishek Nagar ; Karthik Nandakumar and Anil K. Jain
"Biometric template transformation: a security analysis", Proc. SPIE 7541, Media Forensics and Security II, 75410O (January 27, 2010); doi:10.1117/12.839976; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/12.839976

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