Liveness detection: What every business should know

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PXL Vision July 11, 2022
Reading-Time: 3 min Tags: Auto-ID, ID Verification

There are a few reasons why businesses might be interested in liveness detection. Two key aspects of liveness detection are fraud prevention and identity verification in various use cases. In this article we explain the difference between active and passive liveness detection and help businesses to understand why passive liveness detection is so beneficial.

What is liveness detection?

In computer vision, liveness detection is the process of distinguishing live input from a fake or spoofed one. This is an important security measure for many systems that use biometrics for authentication, such as facial recognition. 

There are many ways to perform liveness detection, but the most common is through the use of infrared cameras. When an infrared image is taken of a person's face, the live tissue will reflect more light than the fake or spoofed tissue. This difference can be used to determine whether the input is live or not. 

Liveness detection is an important security measure that can be used to prevent spoofing attacks. By using a liveness detector, you can ensure that the input is coming from a live person and not from a fake or spoofed one.

Active vs. passive liveness detection

There are two types of liveness detection: active and passive. Active liveness detection requires the user to do something, such as smiling, blinking, or speaking, to prove that they are alive. The active approach is sometimes problematic because the identification of fraudsters is easily spoofed in what is called a "presentation attack." That allows fraudsters to easily trick the system by using various gadgets or "artifacts", some of which are quite easy to use, such as 3D paper cutout masks.

Passive liveness detection is generally more accurate than active liveness detection, but it can be more expensive. Plus, for the user, passive liveness detection is much more convenient, since the user does not need to perform artificial movements in front of the camera.

Why passive liveness detection is the better solution

Companies are increasingly relying on identity verification featuring passive liveness detection. With passive liveness detection technology running in the background, the person in front of the camera often does not even notice it. Why is passive liveness detection superior to active liveness detection? Here are our top three reasons:

  1. It is safer and less intrusive
  2. It is more efficient and provides a smoother process for the user
  3. It is much faster than active liveness detection

Passive liveness detection is safer and less intrusiveIt is safer and less intrusive

Other than active liveness detection, passive liveness detection detects features of presentation attacks such as edges, texture, and depth to clearly distinguish the face of a living person from a lifeless or fake face. That is said, the detection is not easily fooled by animation software that mimics facial expressions such as smiling or frowning. It can also handle so-called presentation attacks such as deep fakes, 3D masks, puppets and so on.

Passive liveness detection is more efficient and provides a smoother process for the user

Active liveness detection processes ask users to perform actions that can be misunderstood, hard to follow or just ignored. This results in frustrated users dropping out of the verification process. For businesses, this leads to potential revenue loss. As the process with passive liveness detection is easy and convenient for users due to the previous advantages, it is much more efficient for companies and increases revenue. Since passive liveness detection is not based on user interaction, it provides a much smoother user experience for the identity verification process. This makes the process much more convenient and smooth.

Passive liveness detection is much faster

The entire passive liveness detection process takes about 10-15 seconds. Normally, a user does not need any instructions or manuals to follow, as only natural behavior is required. That accelerates the process and makes it more convenient, because users are not forced to hold still, which many often do not succeed in doing immediately.

As summary, the benefits of passive liveness detection are

  • Increased protection from fraudsters and spoofing attacks
  • Better user experience and convenience
  • Higher conversion rates due to less dropouts
  • Increased revenue

How PXL Vision uses passive liveness detection

Of course, PXL Vision’s identity verification software works with passive liveness detection. The solution therefore benefits from all the above advantages. It works in two simple steps: Users first take a picture of their ID document with their smartphone and take a short video selfie for liveness detection plus verification in a second step.

The seamless integrated solution guarantees a frictionless user experience and is extremely fast: the entire verification process can be completed within seconds. PXL Vision's solution is optimized for conversion, which reduces dropouts by up to 67%, compared to competing solutions. 

If you are interested in more (technical) details on what to look for when choosing the right identity verification solution, please download our Buyer's guide.

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