Distributor welcomes gummy fingers

Distributor welcomes gummy fingers

Far from rejecting recent demonstrations of the fallibility of biometric technology, security integrator and distributor ComSec Enterprises welcomes scrutiny of the technology.

"The research conducted in Japan is very important and it demonstrates how critical it is to choose the best technical response to security needs," said Peter Lee, ComSec's general manager.

Lee's comments come in response to a presentation last month by Japanese researcher Tsutomu Matsumoto, which is affiliated with the Graduate School of Environment and Information Sciences at the Yokohama National University. Using everyday materials such as gelatin and Adobe Photoshop software, Matsumoto gained unauthorised access through the fingerprint scanners of some of the leading biometrics vendors around 80 per cent of the time.

ComSec Enterprises is the exclusive distributor for Precise Biometrics and Utimaco, neither of which were tested by Matsumoto. Lee believes having a big-name consumer brand does not guarantee the value of a solution when it comes to tight security.

"Both Precise and Utimaco suggest categorically that Match-on-Card systems better ensure fail-safe security levels, and we agree entirely," he said.

The Match-on-Card system marries a fingerprint reader with smart card technology. Information from the reference fingerprint is kept on the card, so reference databases are unnecessary and passwords don't have to be remembered. It means more initial outlay for companies, but Lee believes this is tempered by the peace of mind of security.

"This is a much more difficult system to fool, as not only does the fingerprint have to be gained and forged, but the card either needs to be obtained or forged."

Lee admits security can be compromised if cards with forged fingerprints are obtained, but forgeries of the cards themselves have so far proven elusive. "It has yet to be demonstrated that the cards themselves can be forged with any accuracy," he said.

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