Military Embedded Systems

Biometric attack detection technologies sought by IARPA


February 25, 2016

John McHale

Editorial Director

Military Embedded Systems

WASHINGTON. Officials at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) announced that they are hosting a Proposers' Day Conference for the Odin program on Friday March 11, 2016, from 8:30 am to 5:00 pm in the Washington metropolitan area. The conference is being held in anticipation of the release of a new Broad Agency Announcement solicitation on the program, which will develop biometric presentation attack detection technologies to ensure biometric security systems can detect when someone is attempting to disguise their biometric identity.

The conference will provide information on Odin and the research problems the program aims to address, to address questions from potential proposers, and to have a forum for potential proposers to present their capabilities for teaming opportunities.

Proposed approaches must be capable of detecting presentation attacks that they may have never seen before, rather than implementing protections against specific, well-known attacks, using methods such as machine learning, artificial intelligence, pattern recognition, and more. Ideal solutions will be capable of capturing robust data on the biometric that can later be re-analyzed to identify new approaches as new attacks are identified.

Biometric modalities of interest are face, finger, and iris. Ideal solutions should be able to operate with low biometric presentation attack false alarm rates (FAR) for high volume applications, and high biometric presentation attack true detect rates (TDR) for high security applications. Solutions must be capable of continuing to enable biometric identification/recognition capabilities at least as well as existing technology, but may make use of existing technology to achieve that. Generic security technology not directly related to biometric capture and analysis such as cyber intrusion detection and integrated circuit chip security are outside of the primary research scope of this program.

In order to test Odin’s ability to detect presentation attack approaches, a red team approach may be used to evaluate the performance of Odin technology, according to IARPA. This will be facilitated by two components of Odin. Thor will develop presentation attack detection technology, and Loki will exercise Thor technology. As security vulnerabilities in government systems may be classified, Loki will then be issued as a classified broad agency announcement and will have a classified discussion session on Odin Proposers’ Day. Thor performers will be provided with unclassified biometric presentation attack methods to test on by the government. Individual teams will only be selected to participate in one of the two components (either Thor or Loki) due to the red team evaluation model.

Odin is anticipated as a three-phase program, with performers making attempts on multiple modalities. The first phase is expected to focus on producing prototypes primarily capable of detecting known approaches. The second phase will then focus on the ability to detect unknown approaches, and the third phase will require the ability to operate at operationally relevant FAR/TDR rates.

IARPA officials anticipate that academic institutions and companies from around the world will participate in Thor. Submissions from foreign entities are welcomed. Thor Researchers will be encouraged to publish their findings in academic journals. Loki will require key personnel with SECRET clearances and will have publication restrictions due to their exploration of security vulnerabilities. More information on Loki is available in a classified addendum to this announcement which can be obtained by submitting a request to [email protected] Appropriate security clearances will be required prior to release of the information.

Attendees must register no later than 5 pm EST March 3rd, 2016 at Directions to the conference facility and other materials will be available on that website. No walk-in registrations will be allowed. Due to space limitations, attendance will be limited to the first 150 registrants and to no more than two representatives per organization. All attendees will be required to present a government-issued photo identification to enter the conference. Non-US citizens will be required to submit a visit request form for Foreign Nationals at least five business days prior to the conference. The form and submission instructions can be found on the registration website. Foreign nationals will need to present a passport.

The morning session will have an overview of the program goals, technical challenges, and expected participation requirements. A description of how the solutions will be evaluated will be provided. The afternoon will have a poster session to provide an opportunity for attendees to present their organizations' capabilities and to explore teaming arrangements. The afternoon will also have a break out session for those interested in Loki operated at the SECRET level. It will be limited to 50 participants. Attendees of the breakout session will have to pass appropriate clearances to be permitted to attend. Attendees who wish to present organization capabilities for teaming opportunities may submit a request via the registration web site. Details on the poster format as well as the procedure for submitting a request to present, will be provided after approval to register for the conference has been granted. Space available for posters will be limited and posters will be limited to the first 25 registered respondents who request a poster presentation. These presentations are not intended to solicit feedback from the government, and government personnel will not be present during the presentations.

This Proposers' Day is intended for participants who are eligible to compete on the anticipated Broad Agency Announcements (BAA). Other government agencies, federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs), university affiliated research centers (UARCs), or any other similar organizations that have a special relationship with the government, that gives them access to privileged or proprietary information, or access to government equipment or real property, will not be eligible to submit proposals to the anticipated BAA nor participate as team members under proposals submitted by eligible entities. While such entities are not prohibited from attending the Proposers' Day, due to space limitations, preference will be given first to those organizations that are eligible to compete. IARPA will not provide reimbursement for costs incurred to participate in this conference.

Questions about the conference and registration may be sent to [email protected] Questions about the program may be sent to [email protected]

Contracting Office Address:
Office of the Director of National Intelligence
Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity
Washington, DC 20511

Primary Point of Contact:
Chris Boehnen
Program Manager
[email protected]


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