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Attacks/Breaches

Startup Wins License for Secure Biometrics Token

Technology promises to protect privacy of user whose biometric data is stolen or copied

If an attacker steals your password or credit card number, you can simply change them. But what if an attacker steals your fingerprints?

This question has disturbed many potential buyers of biometrics technology, particularly as attackers become more savvy at cracking biometrics databases or creating counterfeit images that approximate the user's fingerprints, facial characteristics, or keystroke patterns. How do you revoke or change privileges granted through human characteristics?

A startup company believes it has a solution. Securics Inc. last week got the licensing it needs to begin marketing a biometrics-based token that can be revoked and reconfigured in the event of data theft or counterfeit.

Securics, which was founded in 2004 by researchers at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, has been given the license to market and distribute technology developed by researchers in its laboratories. The technology was developed by Securics founder and CEO Terry Boult, a UCCS professor who already has sold and filed patents on a long-distance facial recognition system.

Securics’s Biotope technology transforms biometric data into a secure token, which can then be revoked and reissued in case of biometric identity theft. Biotopes have been developed for both fingerprint and face biometrics, and the fingerprint Biotope system has been demonstrated with Java SmartCards.

The Biotope lets users combine multiple biometric features, making it much more difficult for attackers to fake a single characteristic. If a token must be revoked for any reason, the user can create a new configuration using different biometric characteristics. Users can even set up different tokens for different applications, so that a compromise of one will not affect the security of the others.

Securics is positioning the technology as means of verifying users' identities for Web applications, eliminating many of the authentication scams used by identity thieves and phishers. Eventually, the technology might be used in driver's licenses or passports, the company says.

Securics has not established list pricing for the technology, which could be adapted to many different environments. A description of the technology and contact information can be found on the company's Website.

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Tim Wilson is Editor in Chief and co-founder of Dark Reading.com, UBM Tech's online community for information security professionals. He is responsible for managing the site, assigning and editing content, and writing breaking news stories. Wilson has been recognized as one ... View Full Bio

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