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Saudi university to establish biometric security research laboratory

RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh has received a grant from King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for research into secure biometric cryptosystems to aid digital security.
Biometric-based personal recognition technologies such as fingerprint, face, iris, palm print, voice and signature are used to identify a person by his or her unique behavioral or biological characteristics. An increasing number of countries, including the Kingdom, have decided to adopt biometric systems for national security and identity-theft prevention.
Prof. Mohammed Khurram Khan of KSU’s Center of Excellence in Information Assurance (CoEIA), and team leader of the research project, told Arab News on Wednesday that the grant had been approved for a project entitled “Hand-based Biometrics Fusion and Bio-Cryptosystem Computation.”
He added that the project was accepted “under the grant program for universities and research centers listed under the National Transformation Program (NTP) 2020 initiatives.”
Khan said biometrics are becoming an increasingly important component of security-related applications, including logical and physical access control, airport security, sea security, border control, forensic investigation, IT security, identity-fraud protection and terrorist prevention or detection.
But like any digital system, biometric systems can be hacked, modified or copied, so research into the development of more secure systems is vital, he added.
“Through the funding of this project, we will be able to establish a biometrics security research lab at the center, and build a strong research group for effective research projects in the Kingdom,” Khan said.
“This research project aims to develop a framework for a secure biometric cryptosystem by protecting biometric templates derived from the fusion of palm prints and palm veins to satisfy four biometric cryptosystem and template security criteria: Security, diversity, revocability, and accuracy of performance,” he explained.
“A cryptographic secure key will also be generated, which could also be used in state-of-the-art cryptosystems.”
He said apart from the societal benefits of secure data, the research “is expected to impact several areas, including national security, law enforcement and cyber-trust.”
Khan added: “This project will give the nation the technological strength needed to face global terrorism and security challenges and threats.”

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