Preventing face morphing attacks by using legacy face images

Ilias Batskos*, Florens Frans de Wit, Luuk Spreeuwers, Raymond N.J. Veldhuis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
125 Downloads (Pure)


Countries allow citizens to upload a face image or provide printed copies to authorities to issue their passport. This allows prior image manipulation with criminal intent. A composite image can be created by blending the images of two individuals before submitting the composite image to the authorities. Depending on several factors, the submitted morphed face image can fool the issuing officer to issue a legitimate document. The document can then be successfully used by either contributor to attack the automatic Face Recognition Systems (FRS) operating, for example, at Automatic Border Control (ABC) airport gates. This is known as a Morphing Attack (MA), an identity sharing scheme with serious consequences. Here, the security vulnerabilities due to MAs are identified and analysed, and an additional security measure that allows mitigating the risk or preventing MAs in certain scenarios is proposed. The measure introduces more comparisons by keeping the old passport or ID card image in the chip, in passport renewal applications or first time passport applications, respectively. This approach is implemented with two FRSs on a challenging dataset and the dramatic decrease in the vulnerability is shown. Finally, their performance is compared with a state-of-the-art MA detection algorithm on the same dataset.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)430-440
Number of pages11
JournalIET biometrics
Issue number4
Early online date22 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


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