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Modeling IrisCode and Its Variants as Convex Polyhedral Cones and Its Security Implications

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1 Author(s)
Kong, A.W. ; Forensics & Security Lab., Nanyang Technol. Univ., Singapore, Singapore

IrisCode, developed by Daugman, in 1993, is the most influential iris recognition algorithm. A thorough understanding of IrisCode is essential, because over 100 million persons have been enrolled by this algorithm and many biometric personal identification and template protection methods have been developed based on IrisCode. This paper indicates that a template produced by IrisCode or its variants is a convex polyhedral cone in a hyperspace. Its central ray, being a rough representation of the original biometric signal, can be computed by a simple algorithm, which can often be implemented in one Matlab command line. The central ray is an expected ray and also an optimal ray of an objective function on a group of distributions. This algorithm is derived from geometric properties of a convex polyhedral cone but does not rely on any prior knowledge (e.g., iris images). The experimental results show that biometric templates, including iris and palmprint templates, produced by different recognition methods can be matched through the central rays in their convex polyhedral cones and that templates protected by a method extended from IrisCode can be broken into. These experimental results indicate that, without a thorough security analysis, convex polyhedral cone templates cannot be assumed secure. Additionally, the simplicity of the algorithm implies that even junior hackers without knowledge of advanced image processing and biometric databases can still break into protected templates and reveal relationships among templates produced by different recognition methods.

Published in:

Image Processing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 3 )
Biometrics Compendium, IEEE