iris scanning ATM biometricsLooks like ATM machines around North America are due for a security upgrade. This year Barnaby Jack demonstrated both local and remote ATM attacks at Black Hat 2010, and showed how easy it could be to hack an ATM and make it spit cash. Barnaby Jack also revealed a multi-platform ATM rootkit and discussed protection mechanisms that ATM manufacturers can implement to safeguard against these attacks.

Biometric Iris Scanners Coming to A Corner Store Near You!

One protection mechanism that we are now seeing become reality is biometrics. Although it has been in the works for years, it looks like all the futuristic spy movies we watched as kids are coming true as biometric iris scanning ATM machines are looming on the horizon, and in some parts of the world already in action. Of course you’re not likely to see one in your local corner store just yet, but they may well be coming soon! According to Jeff Carter of Global Rainmakers Inc. we’re all going to be connected to the iris system within the next decade.

The computer in a biometric ATM can identify a bank customer and scan their iris even from a distance of greater than three feet. The camera inside the machine takes a focused photo of the eye in black & white, while the system then measures the structure of the iris, and how light and dark areas fall upon it, a successful ID generates a code which is essentially the customers PIN. The latest method of biometrics is “finger vein” technology — an authentication system developed by Japanese tech giant Hitachi. Poland’s cooperative BPS bank says it’s the first in Europe to install a biometric ATM — allowing customers to withdraw cash simply with the touch of a fingertip. The company says that an infrared light is passed through the finger to detect a unique pattern of micro-veins beneath the surface – which is then matched with a pre-registered profile to verify an individual’s identity. “This is a substantially more reliable technique than using fingerprints,” Peter Jones, Hitachi’s head of security and solutions in Europe.

“Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years,”

But what’s happening now is Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI), based out of New York City, has announced that it will use iris scanning technology to begin creating what it claims will be “the most secure city in the world” in Leon, Mexico. The task is to hook up all of GRI’s city wide iris scanners to a massive database created with law enforcement authorities.

“In the future, whether it’s entering your home, opening your car, entering your workspace, getting a pharmacy prescription refilled, or having your medical records pulled up, everything will come off that unique key that is your iris,” Jeff Carter, CDO of GRI tells tech website Jeff Carter claims “Every person, place, and thing on this planet will be connected [to the iris system] within the next 10 years,”.

You can read more about Global Rainmakers plans at Prison Planet, here.

Seems to me that things are changing so rapidly, the world around us is quickly become like that of every futuristic movie we’ve ever seen. Nothing is impossible anymore, and with creations and technology such as this the world is supposed to become a more secure place. Do you see this as a step forward, or do you have any objections to this kind of technology?

Sources: CNN World, "Biometric ATM gives cash via 'finger vein' scan."  Prison Planet, "Biometric Iris Scanning Technology Rolled Out across entire city".  Black Hat USA 2010  ATM Marketplace "Back to the Future: Biometrics Revisited"