A new method for generating an invariant iris private key based on the fuzzy vault system

Youn Joo Lee, Kang Ryoung Park, Sung Joo Lee, Kwanghyuk Bae, Jaihie Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

71 Citations (Scopus)


Cryptographic systems have been widely used in many information security applications. One main challenge that these systems have faced has been how to protect private keys from attackers. Recently, biometric cryptosystems have been introduced as a reliable way of concealing private keys by using biometric data. A fuzzy vault refers to a biometric cryptosystem that can be used to effectively protect private keys and to release them only when legitimate users enter their biometric data. In biometric systems, a critical problem is storing biometric templates in a database. However, fuzzy vault systems do not need to directly store these templates since they are combined with private keys by using cryptography. Previous fuzzy vault systems were designed by using fingerprint, face, and so on. However, there has been no attempt to implement a fuzzy vault system that used an iris. In biometric applications, it is widely known that an iris can discriminate between persons better than other biometric modalities. In this paper, we propose a reliable fuzzy vault system based on local iris features. We extracted multiple iris features from multiple local regions in a given iris image, and the exact values of the unordered set were then produced using the clustering method. To align the iris templates with the new input iris data, a shift-matching technique was applied. Experimental results showed that 128-bit private keys were securely and robustly generated by using any given iris data without requiring prealignment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1302-1313
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics, Part B: Cybernetics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received March 8, 2007; revised August 27, 2007 and March 28, 2008. This work was supported by the Korea Science and Engineering Foundation through the Biometrics Engineering Research Center, Yonsei University (R112002105080020(2008)). This paper was recommended by Associate Editor N. Ratha.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Software
  • Information Systems
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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