Fujitsu names UniCredit as first European customer for palm-scan authentication

Fujitsu's palm-vein scanners are an order of magnitude better than fingerprint scanners, the company says

Fujitsu Technology Solutions has named European bank UniCredit as the first major customer for its PalmSecure authentication system, which is on display at the Cebit trade show in Hanover, Germany, this week.

UniCredit will roll out the system in Italy as means of payment authorization. In that case, users enrolled in the system will be able to pay by holding their hand over a scanner on suitably equipped point-of-sale (POS) terminals, without the need for a card or PIN, the bank said. It is already testing the system, which it calls Papillon. The bank's CEO Federico Ghizzoni made the first payment on a pilot system at an Italian store belonging to upmarket cosmetics chain Kiko in mid-December.

PalmSecure, already tested with banks in Japan, uses an infrared sensor to scan the pattern of veins in the palm of the hand from a distance of about 5 centimeters, converting the result into a digital code. The system also detects the flow of blood through the veins, defending against the kind of fake-finger attacks that have bedevilled fingerprint authentication systems and making it pointless for thieves to cut off authorized users' body parts in order to defeat access control systems, said Fujitsu Technology Solutions CTO Joseph Reger.

There is no need to touch or swipe the sensor, making it suitable for environments where hygiene or resistance to dirt is important, such as hospitals or industry.

PalmSecure is an order of magnitude more accurate than fingerprint recognition, according to Reger.

Fingerprint scans have a false acceptance rate -- when someone else is mistakenly identified as the authorized user -- of around one in 100,000, compared to around one in 1.25 million for palm vein scans, according to Fujitsu. The false rejection rate -- where the authorized user is refused access -- is around one in 1,000 for fingerprint scans and one in 10,000 for palm vein scans, it said.

With greater accuracy comes greater cost, however. The scanner component costs about US$100 today, while a plug-in scanner module costs around $200. If demand for modules is sufficient, though, that cost could come down to around $20 as production volumes rise, Reger said.

Fujitsu has enrolled tens of thousands of users of different ages, sexes and ethnic background, allowing it to test the system's speed and accuracy with a large database of users. It says its own internal research has shown that palm vein patterns are unique to individuals and contain detailed characteristics allowing them to be distinguished from one another.

Nevertheless, one-factor authentication is not enough for sensitive deployments such as banking, Reger said. Fujitsu advocates two-factor authentication for such applications -- and this is also a legal requirement in some European countries, including Germany, he said.

PalmSecure's scanners can either be linked to a central back-end database with a separate enrollment system, more appropriate in a banking environment, or the functions of enrollment and authentication can be combined in an embedded system for access control. Fujitsu even envisions that the system could be built into cars as an alternative to existing security systems using keys or RFID tags.

Peter Sayer covers open source software, European intellectual property legislation and general technology breaking news for IDG News Service. Send comments and news tips to Peter at peter_sayer@idg.com.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags auditingfinancebusiness managementindustry verticalsenergyFinancial regulation and complianceFujitsu Technology Solutionsenvironmentcebitbudgeting and forecastingsecurityAccess control and authenticationbiometrics

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Peter Sayer

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Matthew Stivala

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

The HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer is a great device that fits perfectly into my fast paced and mobile lifestyle. My first impression of the printer itself was how incredibly compact and sleek the device was.

Armand Abogado

HP OfficeJet 250 Mobile Printer

Wireless printing from my iPhone was also a handy feature, the whole experience was quick and seamless with no setup requirements - accessed through the default iOS printing menu options.

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?