Using Your Veins To Access Your Smartphone

Cyber security is top of mind for many people today, with a growing number of high-profile breaches raising awareness of the importance of keeping our digital devices secure.  This has prompted a move towards technologies such as fingerprint identification on the latest generation of smartphone, but a new paper from Edith Cowan University (ECU) proposes going one step further.

It proposes not only scanning your fingerprint, but also the veins in your finger to gain access to your phone.  The authors say that the layout of our veins are actually incredibly unique, and therefore provide a good means of identification.  It’s an approach that the researchers believe will become commonplace in the next decade.

“In the future, we’ll need more security, because threats are always evolving,” they explain.  “While fingerprints are better than other existing security systems, there are problems.”

The authors highlight a number of problems with current security methods.  For instance, they believe fingerprints can easily be duplicated, whilst facial recognition technology also has severe limitations.  It’s not easy for someone to see inside your body however.

Secure technology

The technology developed by the team involves a single sensor.  The sensor combines image data from the vein with minutiae-based data from the fingerprint to greatly improve recognition.  What’s more, these different extraction methods also make it harder and more complex for anyone trying to duplicate the system.

Indeed, the very fact that the images of the vein are captured via an infrared sensor means that it is incredibly difficult for any hacker to mimic this physical attribute.  The technology is also a cancellable system, so that the person’s original features are both transformed and stored in a way that cannot be reversed should a security breach occur.

Suffice to say, the technology is still a little way from the market, but it’s a fascinating insight into the possible direction of travel for the sector.