The need to utilise the most advanced security measures is emphasised by the continuation of terror attacks around the world. Here, Major General (Res.) Aharon Zeevi Farkash, Founder & President, FST Biometrics discusses the need for Biometric fusion.
As those in the intelligence community will know, collecting reliable and actionable intelligence cannot rely on a single person or source. Following just one lead, or acting on one source alone could be detrimental to an entire operation. Through my experience leading the Directorate of Military Intelligence for the Israel Defense Forces, I learned that it is almost impossible to find a single piece of information that will shed full light on the scene, thus, you simply cannot put all your security eggs in one basket.
Creating a clear, trustworthy picture of the security landscape requires input from a vast array of sources. This will include signal intelligence, cyber intelligence, and visual intelligence – not only from satellites, but including surveillance balloons and drones, ground reconnaissance, human intelligence, interrogations and more. Alone, any of these sources could lead to a premature or impetuous decision of the military or federal government. However, combining input from these sources paints a clear picture of the state of the nation.
This is the approach taken at the highest levels of intelligence and national agencies. Fusion of information in real-time is what helps to determine actionable intelligence for end-users. By military standards, end-users include Special Forces, air force and other actors on the ground.
This leaves us with a clear, sound approach to proactive intelligence and preventative security: fusion.
Global Megatrends Reinforce the Need for Preventive, Proactive Security
For today’s generation, the need for preventative security and proactive intelligence is more important than ever. In the last two decades, we have seen a rise in global terror, as political climates heat up. Every few weeks we read another headline about the most recent tragic terror attack. Radicals are always looking for new ways to infiltrate and spread their messages around the globe. These attacks are no longer in isolated areas, nor are they restricted to countries in which the battle against extremism is rampant, but have spread to major cities in the west as well.
This rise in terror has given birth to a megatrend among security and intelligence apparatuses across the globe: there is a stronger need now than ever to prevent terror attacks from occurring. This needs to be accomplished not only by tighter security, but smarter security by using advanced technology. There is a second megatrend, which perhaps makes the rise in terror even more impactful: an increase in urbanisation. Our towns have become cities, our cities have become megacities, and the trend of urbanisation is not slowing down. According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, by 2050, “continuing population growth and urbanisation are projected to add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population”. What this means is that denser cities give rise to increased crime overall, and make themselves more attractive targets for terror activities.
Furthermore, urbanisation has changed the battle field of armies, too. The war against ISIS in cities like Mosul, Raqqa and Aleppo is completely different than the classical wars of open spaces in which armies used to fight. Now, the need for accurate identification of humans inside these mega cities has become a need of armies too.
The current political climate, combined with these global megatrends has established a new world order in which accurate information and tight security has become a necessary component of our lives. And yet, most people have no interest in living in a police-state. No one wants to feel that they are passing through airport security in every place they go, or be subjected to invasive security checks at numerous points of their day.
As such, the need to provide proactive, preventative security must not come at the expense of people’s freedom of movement; it must be convenient, and non-invasive in people’s lives.
Biometric Technologies Take Centre Stage
The answer to this need can be found in biometric technologies. Biometrics are no longer reserved for the early adopter; many biometric technologies have now reached the maturity for mass-market adoption. The adoption of biometrics has been accelerated by several triggers, including meeting market needs, the increase in computing power and the availability and usage of artificial intelligence.
The question of biometric adoption is no longer one of, “should we use biometric technology in our security system?”, but rather, “Which biometric technology should be incorporated into our security infrastructure?” By choosing the right biometric technology, organisations can provide the high level of preventative security that is needed, while not interfering with the pace of everyday life.
To achieve the strongest, most accurate, effective and convenient biometric solution, we must return to the basics of effective intelligence collection. Just as those in the intelligence community rely on a fusion of sources to make the best decision, so too must biometric technologies employ a fusion of technologies. As with intelligence, relying on any one biometric sensor will not provide the accuracy and, more importantly, the security needed to make the best decision or provide the most secure and convenient identity verification.
The Threat of Single-Mode Biometrics
In the last several years, cybercriminals have advanced to be able to duplicate a fingerprint or iris scan from just a high-resolution image. According to Professor Isao Echizen, a security and digital media researcher at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics, “Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available.” Demonstrating this point, in 2015, hacker Jan “Starbug” Krissler recreated Angela Merkel’s iris from a photo.
Single modal biometrics are no longer sufficient to counter today’s sophisticated hacking community. As such, relying on fingerprints, iris scans or facial recognition alone will not provide the level of security needed to prevent infiltration by a hostile party. The strongest, most convenient and most secure forms of biometric technology employ a fusion of biometric technologies to provide speed and accuracy, as well as simplicity for the end-user to prevent an attacker from even entering the premises.
What Fusion Is and What It Isn’t
When we talk about fusion, we do not simply mean multi-modal biometrics (e.g. a finger print followed by a PIN, or an iris scan followed by a finger print). Fusion means, just as its name suggests, a true synthesis of biometric markers. As discussed above, a sophisticated hacker could potentially create copies of a finger print and an iris to fraud a multi-modal system. While this would be an advanced presentation attack, it is, nonetheless, plausible.
However, creating a biometric identification system that fuses facial recognition and body behaviour analytics, including height, gait and other body characteristics, creates a powerful and complex system that is very difficult to deceive.
Why Fusion Works
Facial recognition is not a new technology; however, the combination of facial recognition combined with gait biometrics is a reimagining of what is possible for biometric identification. These two biometric elements can be referred to as visual identification markers – these are biometrics that are visible to the naked eye. And, the combination of these is extremely hard to mimic.
Every individual has a unique combination of movements, walking, gestures and composure of self. Copying a person’s exact, unique combination of movements is one of the hardest biometric signatures to replicate. You cannot print off a high-resolution image of someone’s unique body movement and create an exact replica. Even the most advanced robotics have not been able to copy the nuanced movements of a human body. This makes gait and body behaviour some of the strongest biometric modalities available today.
Combining these modalities with facial recognition, therefore, provides an extremely robust PAD (presentation attack detection), that is virtually impossible to beat. After all, the probability of a hostile actor being able to replicate a person’s face, with liveliness, and copying precisely that individual’s body movements, height, gait and specific nuanced behaviours makes biometric fusion a highly resilient method of identification.
Smarter Solutions Made Possible Through Biometric Fusion
Not only is biometric identification more secure as a result of biometric fusion, it is also more accurate, and occurs in real-time. As with intelligence, a fusion of sources creates a more accurate picture of a situation. So too with biometric identification – a fusion of biometrics creates a more accurate picture of a person.
Such high levels of accuracy enabled by biometric fusion, as well as the speed at which identification can take place (using visual identification, the identity verification can happen in motion, as a user approaches an access point), the applications are endless. Corporations with thousands of employees and multinational offices can use this type of identification for fast paced verification of employees entering office buildings around the world; retail stores with loyalty programs can create opt-in systems that identify customers upon entering any retail chain in the country, allowing for more personalised service; stores can better understand customer behaviour and improve business analytics to increase efficiency and revenues; a person could have a system like this in their home, and upon approaching the front door, immediately trigger smart home applications to begin functioning (lighting, temperature, sound systems, etc.).
Perhaps most importantly, this type of biometric identification does not have to invade a person’s life; there is no need to sacrifice convenience in the name of security. The benefits of biometric fusions will be everywhere – from personal mobile devices and banking apps, to public areas such as stadiums, hospitals, airports, and universities. Accurate, fast and secure biometric fusion can allow the right people to gain access, while preventing unknown persons or even black-listed individuals from entering, allowing us to prevent attacks before they occur.
By applying fusion to biometrics, we can overcome industry challenges such as speed and accuracy, provide advanced services to verticals such as the retail market, and promote more effective preventative security. This will enable us to stop security situations before they become headlines.
FST Biometrics is a global company that specialises in biometric identification technology to provide secure access that is non-intrusive and seamless. Their unique In Motion Identification™ (IMID) technology includes facial recognition and behavioural analytics to swiftly identify those with access authorisation, while preventing entry of unauthorised visitors.
To find out more visit http://fstbm.com