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Snapdragon 835 introduces iris authentication mobile security software solution

Tired of remembering multiple passwords? Ever wish you could unlock your devices, buy stuff online, and make payments, all without batting an eye? Now this is possible (literally) with smartphones based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 Mobile Platform*. No longer a work of fiction, iris authentication offers a layer of security that’s both robust and convenient. It’s contact-less, stable, and is one of the most accurate biometrics out there.

As user authentication mechanisms move away from what you know (passwords) to who you are (biometrics), it’s important to maintain the integrity of the iris authentication.

Qualcomm Iris Authentication is a comprehensive solution that is designed to allow the capture, enrollment, and verification of an individual’s irises. The software has deep system optimizations on the Snapdragon 835 engineered to support cutting-edge performance. The captured iris image is converted into a template that’s unique to each iris and those templates are stored on the device in the Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment. When a user presents his/her iris for verification, a template is created and compared to the existing template, resulting in either a 'match' or 'no-match.' All of this processing happens in the Trusted Execution Environment to help ensure that your device is security-rich and resistant to malicious code.

RGB preview

Due to the nature of information that needs to be captured for iris authentication (the iris has 225 points of comparison), an infrared (IR) LED illuminates the iris while the IR camera captures the iris image. What’s displayed, however, is a color preview captured by a front-facing camera. It’s a far less spooky-looking image, allowing for a better user experience.

Camera Security

Our iris authentication solution uses the Snapdragon 835’s camera security framework. Camera security is engineered to help provide hardware-based authentication and prevent the iris image from being captured by malware. This means the malware cannot fake authentication and replay the captured image into the Trusted Execution Environment. Both the IR image capture and RGB preview take advantage of camera security capabilities; each time the user scans her iris to open the phone or pay for something, the path is then hardened, so it becomes increasingly difficult for the image to be captured and used for nefarious reasons.

Authentication speed

The iris authentication solution takes advantage of the Snapdragon 835’s processing power, which is engineered to deliver an unlock speed of <100ms. The solution makes quick work of the verification even if you’re wearing glasses, sunglasses, or even contact lenses. That’s because the iris authentication solution is capable of recognizing a variety of eyewear and extracting only the necessary information while ignoring the rest. And it’s designed to work well in indoor and outdoor environments so you can unlock your phone just as easily in bright and dark lighting conditions.

Liveness detection

All iris authentication systems are vulnerable to attack by spoofing. For example, hackers might present fake iris photographs or videos of an authorized user and attempt to gain access to a device. Qualcomm Technologies’ iris authentication solution is designed to help withstand such attacks through an anti-spoofing mechanism known as liveness detection. Liveness detection solutions work to ensure that the iris being presented to the device is that of an authorized (and living) user.

Our iris authentication solution is built to facilitate mobile payments and financial transactions. Online banking apps, music purchase apps, peer-to-peer money transfer apps, and more can integrate with the Qualcomm Technologies solution, which is based on hardware and software security. Other applications, such as parental control, streaming, and VR, rely on non-obtrusive verification, or authentication that happens in the background.

Qualcomm Iris Authentication offers an integrated solution that is engineered to be fast, security-rich, and easy to use. Now, superior accuracy and cutting-edge security are available in just the blink of an eye.

*Iris authentication capability is offered on all Snapdragon 835 chipsets and smartphone manufacturers can choose to enable them.

Qualcomm Iris Authentication and Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.

Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.