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Reliable and secure encryption key generation from fingerprints

Weiguo Sheng (School of Computer Science and Technology, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China)
Gareth Howells (School of Engineering and Digital Arts, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Michael Fairhurst (School of Engineering and Digital Arts, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Farzin Deravi (School of Engineering and Digital Arts, University of Kent, Canterbury, UK)
Shengyong Chen (School of Computer Science and Technology, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou, People's Republic of China)

Information Management & Computer Security

ISSN: 0968-5227

Article publication date: 13 July 2012

Abstract

Purpose

Biometric authentication, which requires storage of biometric templates and/or encryption keys, raises a matter of serious concern, since the compromise of templates or keys necessarily compromises the information secured by those keys. To address such concerns, efforts based on dynamic key generation directly from the biometrics have recently emerged. However, previous methods often have quite unacceptable authentication performance and/or small key spaces and therefore are not viable in practice. The purpose of this paper is to propose a novel method which can reliably generate long keys while requires storage of neither biometric templates nor encryption keys.

Design/methodology/approach

This proposition is achieved by devising the use of fingerprint orientation fields for key generation. Additionally, the keys produced are not permanently linked to the orientation fields, hence, allowing them to be replaced in the event of key compromise.

Findings

The evaluation demonstrates that the proposed method for dynamic key generation can offer both good reliability and security in practice, and outperforms other related methods.

Originality/value

In this paper, the authors propose a novel method which can reliably generate long keys while requires storage of neither biometric templates nor encryption keys. This is achieved by devising the use of fingerprint orientation fields for key generation. Additionally, the keys produced are not permanently linked to the orientation fields, hence, allowing them to be replaced in the event of key compromise.

Keywords

Citation

Sheng, W., Howells, G., Fairhurst, M., Deravi, F. and Chen, S. (2012), "Reliable and secure encryption key generation from fingerprints", Information Management & Computer Security, Vol. 20 No. 3, pp. 207-221. https://doi.org/10.1108/09685221211247307

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited