Texture to the Rescue: Practical Paper Fingerprinting based on Texture Patterns

Ehsan Toreini, Siamak F. Shahandashti, Feng Hao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this article, we propose a novel paper fingerprinting technique based on analyzing the translucent patterns revealed when a light source shines through the paper. These patterns represent the inherent texture of paper, formed by the random interleaving of wooden particles during the manufacturing process. We show that these patterns can be easily captured by a commodity camera and condensed into a compact 2,048-bit fingerprint code. Prominent works in this area (Nature 2005, IEEE S&P 2009, CCS 2011) have all focused on fingerprinting paper based on the paper "surface." We are motivated by the observation that capturing the surface alone misses important distinctive features such as the noneven thickness, random distribution of impurities, and different materials in the paper with varying opacities. Through experiments, we demonstrate that the embedded paper texture provides a more reliable source for fingerprinting than features on the surface. Based on the collected datasets, we achieve 0% false rejection and 0% false acceptance rates. We further report that our extracted fingerprints contain 807 degrees of freedom (DoF), which is much higher than the 249 DoF with iris codes (that have the same size of 2,048 bits). The high amount of DoF for texturebased fingerprints makes our method extremely scalable for recognition among very large databases; it also allows secure usage of the extracted fingerprint in privacy-preserving authentication schemes based on error correction techniques.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9
Number of pages29
JournalACM Transactions on Privacy and Security (TOPS)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Aug 2017

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  • Biometrics
  • Counterfeiting
  • Paper fingerprint
  • Physical unclonable function

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