Helping to finger fraud

Researchers at the University of Kent at Canterbury (UKC) have been working with a group of more than two hundred volunteers from among the general public to develop better ways to tackle credit card fraud.

Working with partners across Europe, Professor Mike Fairhurst and Dr Farzin Deravi, from UKC`s Electronics Department, are currently developing a new smart card, which includes a small fingerprint sensor. The credit card user will need to match the fingerprint before the card can be used so stealing the card or even the PIN number will not be enough – you need to have the right finger to activate it.

The volunteers have been giving fingerprint samples to help with the evaluation of this technology. Volunteers enrol on the system and, subsequently, after an interval of around a month, return to give further samples, which can be checked against the model captured during enrolment. Analysis of the results will be used to determine the effectiveness of fingerprint matching algorithms and, especially, to find out how easy and robust the system is likely to be in practical use.

The researchers have been working on novel technologies for person identification and authentication for many years. The Finger Card is just the latest in a long line of research projects funded by major organisations such as the Department for Trade and Industry and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). Funded under the European Commission`s Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme (IST), it involves companies such as Infineon Technologies and Deutsche Bank. The UKC contribution is in the crucial area of evaluation of component technologies and the overall system applications.

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