PassBio: Privacy-preserving user-centric biometric authentication

Kai Zhou, Jian Ren

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


The proliferation of online biometric authentication has necessitated security requirements of biometric templates. The existing secure biometric authentication schemes feature a server-centric model, where a service provider maintains a biometric database and is fully responsible for the security of the templates. The end-users have to fully trust the server in storing, processing, and managing their private templates. As a result, the end-users' templates could be compromised by outside attackers or even the service provider itself. In this paper, we propose a user-centric biometric authentication scheme (PassBio) that enables end-users to encrypt their own templates with our proposed light-weighted encryption scheme. During authentication, all the templates remain encrypted such that the server will never see them directly. However, the server is able to determine whether the distance of two encrypted templates is within a pre-defined threshold. Our security analysis shows that no critical information of the templates can be revealed under both passive and active attacks. PassBio follows a 'compute-then-compare' computational model over encrypted data. More specifically, our proposed threshold predicate encryption (TPE) scheme can encrypt two vectors x and y in such a manner that the inner product of x and y can be evaluated and compared to a pre-defined threshold. TPE guarantees that only the comparison result is revealed and no key information about x and y can be learned. Furthermore, we show that TPE can be utilized as a flexible building block to evaluate different distance metrics, such as Hamming distance and Euclidean distance over encrypted data. Such a compute-then-compare computational model, enabled by TPE, can be widely applied in many interesting applications, such as searching over encrypted data while ensuring data security and privacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3050-3063
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Biometric authentication
  • computation over encrypted data
  • data security and privacy
  • inner product encryption
  • predicate encryption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Computer Networks and Communications


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