In the past few years the developments in security have moved towards personal biological traits, such as voice recognition, fingerprint recognition and now eye recognition. The scanning of a person’s iris is one of the more recent developments and for a long time was something seen in sci-fi movies, however it is now seen in a lot of real situations.

The iris scan software is now fairly popular and can act as a replacement for a passport and even computer login. The iris scan itself works by taking an image of the eye and using the random patterns within the iris to create a code, it combines the computer vision, pattern recognition and statistical inference, meaning that it has been thought to be a very advanced and secure system of recognising a human eye and it’s unique appearance. However, this might not be as secure as we once hoped.

There are two main insecurities to the iris scan software; the first is that false information can be injected into the database. This is in the form of binary iris codes (the code used by the computer to recognise the eye) a number of hackers are able to create their own codes and tests have shown that these can actually get into the system and allow the intruder’s eye to be recognised by the software, granting them access. This latest threat to the iris scanning technology is an issue, particularly should the software behind creating and injecting these false codes become any more advanced, however the recent development of the biometric foot scanner provided a possibility of a new solution in this area.

The second issue with the iris scan is that it can actually be fooled, as a team of Spanish researchers at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid discovered. By accessing the binary iris codes they proved that an image of the eye could actually be built and when printed and shown to a scanner this image would be accepted by a scanner 80% of the time. Previously experiments by scientists produced only images that appeared realistic but were not accepted.

However – in many cases those working alongside biometric security simply suggest a combination of systems, meaning that voice and finger recognition would also be used with iris security to ensure the safety and protection of identity and documents protected by these systems.