A password system comprises a set of codewords spaced apart from one another by a Hamming distance (HD) that exceeds twice the variability that can be projected for a series of biometric measurements for a particular individual and that is less than the HD that can be encountered between two individuals. To enroll an individual, a biometric measurement is taken and exclusive-ORed with a random codeword to produce a "reference value." To verify the individual later, a biometric measurement is taken and exclusive-ORed with the reference value to reproduce the original random codeword or its approximation. If the reproduced value is not a codeword, the nearest codeword to it is found, and the bits that were corrected to produce the codeword to it is found, and the bits that were corrected to produce the codeword are also toggled in the biometric measurement taken and the codeword generated during enrollment. The correction scheme can be implemented by any conventional error correction code such as Reed-Muller code R(m,n). In the implementation using a hand geometry device an R(2,5) code has been used in this invention. Such codeword and biometric measurement can then be used to see if the individual is an authorized user. Conventional Diffie-Hellman public key encryption schemes and hashing procedures can then be used to secure the communications lines carrying the biometric information and to secure the database of authorized users.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to Contract No. W-7405-ENG-48 between the United States Department of Energy and the University of California for the operation of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Appendix A, which is part of the present disclosure, is a microfiche appendix consisting of one sheet and total of 25 frames.
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