Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Henry B. Potoczny, PhD


This thesis examines the application of iris recognition technology to the problem of keeping smart cards secure. In order to understand the technology, a comprehensive literature review was conducted. The biological components of the iris were examined to ensure that they were truly random in development and static through the lifetime of the individual. Specifically, the physical structure of what comprises the iris was examined in detail. The data gathered indicates that the iris is formed early in development, random in structure, and stable throughout the person's lifetime. Next, the iris recognition process and resulting recognition code was examined to determine how it could be used. Examination of methods to eliminate counterfeit codes and the randomness of independent codes was vital. Statistics on reliability of the iris recognition process were also examined. Iris recognition was found to be exceptionally reliable, difficult to counterfeit and fast to use. In order to ensure security, the cryptographic strength of the iris recognition code was examined. It was necessary to determine the time necessary to break the iris recognition code should the smart card be compromised, Due to the randomness of the code, exhaustive searches are the only viable means of breaking the code and the time durations to accomplish this are excessive. Additionally, smart card technology was examined to determine if existing technology could store the necessary iris recognition information for use in identity verification. Current processing ability and storage requirements of smart cards exceed the minimum requirements for use of iris recognition technology. The conclusion of this thesis is that iris recognition technology is a viable means of securing smart cards against unauthorized access with high reliability, confidence and speed.

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