Computerized Signature Verification System

Dinesh F? Mital, Choo Pee Hin, and Wee Kee Leng
ABSTRACT: The fine structure of the muscIc forces that are exerted during the writing of a signature is consistent and well defined for most people. Based on this observation, an experimental system that utilizes a person’s signature waveform dynamics for identification has been proposed. The system is intended to be used for on-line signature verification. It can successfully verify a person’s identity and can also detect forgeries. The acceptance rate for random forgeries, i.e., accidental matching of two different persons’ signatures, is very low. generate electric signals representative of the signature during the signing process [5]-[8]. There have been mixed results using these techniques. The algorithms have been complex, which discourages microprocessor implementation and on-line applications. However, a major advantage of this approach is that signature verification is based on the dynamics of the signature, which are not visible and, therefore, are very difficult to forge or copy. In this respect, a static image of the signature on a card or document is almost useless to the forger, because the dynamics of the forged signature are usually completely different from that of the true signature. This paper describes an on-line signature verification system based on pressure waveform measurements. The algorithm is based on extracting features from the signals generated by the instrumented pen. The advantages of this method are computational efficiency, minimal reference or template storage per user (typically, 75-100 samples), and easy accommodation in a low-cost, stand-alone microprocessor system. The verification time is also very low (4-6 sec). More sophisticated verification systems 161 may yield somewhat higher performance but their practical implementation is very difficult. The system presented here has already been tested with excellent results. The block diagram of the verification system is shown in Fig. 1. tor, reference file, and decision logic. The most striking aspect of signature dynamics is that the time interval for writing a signature, measured from start to finish, remains remarkably consistent. The time for successive signatures frequently differs by as little as 10 msec. Variation in signature dynamics does take place as years pass, but this change can be handled by dynamic updating of the records. Even muscle pressure variation on the writing surface is consistent during the signature process. Based on this consistency, we propose an automatic verification scheme using these concepts. The complete process of verification consists of the following four parts. (The interested reader is referred to [4]-[6] for more detailed mathematical treatment .)

With the development of widely dispersed networks of computer terminals, automatic tellers, and data banks. there has been a corresponding increase in computer crime and a growing need to protect sensitive information. An important aspect of the problem is personal identification, that is, the ability to ensure that only authorized people get access to computer resources. A method of personal identification that cannot be lost, stolen. or forgotten is required for control of computer access, building access. or automated banking. An effective method of online signature verification will have many important applications. Because the signature is the normal and customary method of identifying an individual, it has many natural advantages over other techniques such as fingerprints or voice verification. There has been considerable research in signature verification [ 1]-[4], and, basically, there are two ways to obtain such a representation. One way is to scan the signature optically after it has been written. This technique is similar to optical character recognition. However, the optical scanning method is costly and time-consuming, and is not suitable for real-time applications. A more attractive and useful approach is to Presented at the 1987 IEEE International Conference on Systems. Man, and Cybernetics, Alexandria. Virginia, October 20-23, 1987. Dinesh P. Mital is a staff member of the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering. Nanyang Technological Institute, Singapore. Choo Pee Hin and Wee Kee Leng are working with Housing Development Board Corporation and Real Time Systems. Inc.. Singapore. respectively.

Time interval for writing signature. For decision making, a duration variation of 10-15 percent is permitted. The nominal time for a signature is taken to be 4.0 sec. Number of pressure peaks in signature.
In [SI, it was shown that the number of pressure peaks and valleys are well defined in a signature. The number of peaks along with the mean and standard values is selected as another important feature for the verification criterion.

Distance measure o f peaks and valleys. Distance measure refers to the difference
in coordinates between the peaks and valleys. This criterion involves dividing the waveforms into segments of different lengths according to the peaks and valleys found in the waveforms. This cri-

Signature Verification Technique
A general signature verification system consists of four parts: transducer, compara-




a + 9

Scanner and preprocessor


Hadamard transform


Processing _ j Verification



Fig. 1. Block diagram of an automatic verification system.
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0 1988 IEEE
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The sample values are concatenated to form a character string. which was wired for bipolar operation. 3. These threshold values are the maximum allowable tolerances in verification parameters during the verification process. This type of threshold is determined for all the verification parameters. A piezoelectric transducer was used to sense the pressure waveform and a charge amplifier was used for signal conditioning. The microcomputer selected for this system is the IBM-PCIAT. Vallej row is the difference in the row coordinates of all the valleys between a sample signature and a reference signature. Research work currently in progress will be required for optimal selection of the threshold values of these verification parameters. (6) Plot waveforms. 4. This criterion was developed using the principle of segmentation and correlation. giving bipolar readings. and (3) System Interface Unit (SIU). After the person has entered the PIN number correctly. (1) Microcomputer as Central Controller. It handles bidirectional information flow between the two functional units. To identify a person. respectively.42 J I Datu Cupture Subprogram The task of this subroutine is to capture the signature waveform. menu-driven program MAIN. and liquid-crystaldisplay and light-emitting-diode modules (status indicators). the system would first ask for a personal identification number.100 samples over a 5-sec period. (valley) -True signature cumulative distribution function. Computer-generated outputs for the signature waveform and for one of the verification parameters are shown in Figs. to maximize the percentage rejection of forgeries. The threshold is set to maximize the percentage acceptance of true signatures and. whenever necessary. the More Than Cumulative Distribution Function of data gathered from forgeries is plotted. June 1988 55 . This was necessary because the piezoelectric transducer responds to dynamic pressure variations. At the center of the software domain of the system is the on-line. the Less Than Cumulative Distribution Function of data is gathered from true signatures. (2) Devise a file system to store captured 5 data. (4) Report various status messages. overlapping segments can be used as an alternative. (4) Area measure between peaks and vall e y . whenever necessary. Valley column is the difference in the column coordinates of the two signatures. the key pad (PIN entry). /=3 J = l (5) Create a data base for storing and retrieving. Area measure refers to the difference between slopes or segments between a peak and a valley. Functions of a few of the important subprogram modules are described here briefly. or PIN number. slopes. 2. the hardware of the system may be partitioned into three main subsystems. This curve gives the percentage of the signees having signatures with parameter variation less than the nominal value.tenon is composed of four submeasures. Area difference Fig. For an on-line and interactive verification system. = 96. The on-line acquisition system is the terminal by which the end user enters the system. This method of waveform correlation is well known and gives good results. The objective is to maximize both functions. -Forgery CDF Fig. The function of MAIN is to create a user-friendly environment and coordinate activities among various modules. A typical plot and threshold setting for one of the verification parameters are shown in Fig. Peak row and peak column are defined similarly. For each signature Area difference of two rising System Hardware From a functional point of view. Similarly. On the average. Fig. (3) Process data using a correlation algorithm to match the reference signature waveform. To maximize the percentage acceptance of true signatures. at the same time. The SIU is the interface between the computer and the on-line acquisition system. It comprises the pressure transducer charge amplifier (to capture the signature). Pressure waveform of a signature. The algorithm uses the proposed verification criterion for waveform correlation. the second task is to activate ADC to convert the analog pressure waveform into discrete form. to maximize the rejection of forgeries. T o improve performance. 3 and 4 . 125 20 System Software The software was developed to implement the following six functions: Threshold Setting Threshold setting is done individually for all the verification parameters. 80 70 -Y 5 5 - - ___- I 0 500 1000 1500 2000 2500 3000 3500 4000 Deviation in column coord. Threshold setting. 2. I (1) Capture sampled values of the signature waveform followed by simple data processing. The first task of the routine is to initialize the COMI module. a signature request will be made. The analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) circuitry was centered on the ZN488 8-bit successive approximation chip. Threshold setting (third criterion) Submeasure Valleykolumn 100 (2) On-Line Acquisition System. which accepts data transfer at 600 bps. the correlation algorithm must be able to verify within a few seconds. the system can accept approximately 75.

qI'cllll 0 0 1 2 3 -10 Time scale (sec) 0 1 2 Time scale (sec) 3 The menu option i h used t t i obtain a graphic plot of the reference \ignature.ignature data base. sec No.2. If the parameter values are above tol- erance values. sec Time Duration of Reference. The systcm could verify true indibidual signatures without any failure. number of peaks in the signature.00 [5001 79.60 Area Measure of Sample [2000] Signature Accepted Nominal Threshold Values Signature Time Variation 15 Percent of Nominal Value 15 Percent of Difference in PeaksiValleys Nominal Value Other Values Are Specified in Brackets Along with Measured Values I € € € Control Systems Mogorine . to update the signature records.80 Experimental Results For the experimental system. 5 .qrrm~ . but part of an attempt t o exercise the verification scheme vigorously. o r to add a new signature to the data b a x For the latter application. As an option-to improve performance-the featurelike mean. described previously: time int e n d lor a signature. 2. Reference signature wavefomsforged signature. In subsequent sessions. Critical cases are asked to sign again. the person is accepted by the system. an additional .50 135. Reference signature waveformtrue signature. 30 20 10 Dutrr Cot1\Yrf s l l b / J I ' ~ J . The access is through PIN number. and the test parameters will be updated for future use. distance measure of peaks and valleys. Figures 5 and 6 provide output waveforms lor a true signature (average) and a best torgecl 5ignature. The criterion of correlation is based on the tollowing verification parameters. the nornial values of verification paraineter\ are calculated and stored in the . Forgers were also encouraged. From four sample signatures.~lll . three reference waveforms are needed. the person is rejected. 5 .I'll q I ?1 This subprogram reforniats the record\ of a person into a fomi witable for funher data processing. Peaks in Sample No. Drift1 PI'OC. as shown in Table 1. and area measure between peaks and valleys.50 9 9 936. A forger may try to copy the visible sig- Table 1 Correlation Results of True Signature Correlation Session Date: 02-05. Reference signature pressure waveforms Reference signature pressure waveforms 50 40 Rrwirrl Fetch Subprogrrrtn The task of this routine is to retrieve appropriate records from the data base.reference. If the difference in verification parameters is within tolerance values. respectively. three reterence signatures are required.lCIlll Slrt?/?ro.00 102. pressure waveforms of a person's true signatures are plotted. 200 signatures were collected from SO volunteers. This subprogram p e t f o r n i ~correlation between two wavefornis.Best-fit reference -Trial-run signature =Trial-run signatures 803.\ ~~ihpro. The new verification ?. standard deviation. In Fig. each individual was asked to sign four times to provide sample signatures needed for the reference data base. A rejected person may be given a maximum of three chances. This routine is called t o perfomi a best-fit reference uaveforni o r to prepare a signature for correlation u ith the be\t-fit reference.nieten are compared with storcd values.~\. To simulate a real application environment.1987 Time: 16:03:56 Account Number Time Duration of Sample. The forgeries were not casual. each individual was asked to sign again for verification. Peaks in Reference Distance Distance Distance Distance [Valley (Row)] [Valley (Col)] [Peak (Row)] [Peak (Col)] [2000] [5001 [3000] 2100 2. When this person wants a c ~ ' e \ \ this system again. 6.ipnature i'r required. Fig. o/l~. and the number of zero crossings of a third verification parameter maq be used.

Tech. Sysr. Cheng and S-Y. Some samples of true and forged signatures are shown in Fig.S." IBM J. Machitic. no." IEEE Trutis. From 1974 to 1976. for providing facilities for carrying out the project. . Singapore. N . sec Time Duration of Reference. Syst.. J . Purr. A n d y . EEE. but the forger can never get close to the nominal parameter values of the dynamic pressure of the true signature waveform. Lu. Muti. no. degree in electrical engineering from IIT. in 1968. Samples of true and forged signatures. digital controls. Therefore. Anthony.c. "Experimental Investigation of Automatic Signature Verification. and artificial intelligence. vol. M. Syst. in 1970 and 1974. 2. Lorrette.. 1984. In fact. he is working as a Senior Lecturer at Nanyang Technological Institute. respectively. the forgers could never come close to the true signature verification parameters. The nominal verification parameter values for the forged signature are shown in Table 2. vol. Conclusion This paper describes an on-line signature verification system used to identify a person. Acknowledgments True signatures Forged signatures Fig. India. and Ph. M.33 2. The on-line system was able to identify true signatures and forgeries without error. The verification algorithm has been simplified. However. which are completely different than the true signature waveform in Fig. as an Advanced Development Engineer. Pur:. Mital received the B. Cyberti. The signature verification technique is coupled with a personal identification number. Cyberri. 2 . Machine Intell. Thereafter. by accident. and N . he received the M. "Automatic Signature Verification: System Description and Field Test Results. Lin. Putt. Dayton. 7 9 3049. vol. "Waveform Feature Extraction Based o n Tauberian Approximation.. Creteil.. New York." IEEE Trms. Lin and N.'' IEEE Truti. J ." IEEE Trans.31 Area Measure of Sample [2000] Signature Rejected nature. A person with the wrong identity is given a maximum of three chances before access is denied. W. 21. "A Tree-Matching Algorithm Based on Node Splitting and Merging. "Automatic Signature Verification Based on Accelerometry. It is our belief that this verification technique will work for signatures in any language. 6 . in such cases. a forger's pressure waveforms are shown.Table 2 Correlation Results of Forged Signature Correlation Session Date: 02-05-1987 Time: 16:24: 16 Account Number Time Duration of Sample. D. with a total of 200 signatures collected from 50 individuals. May 1977.. 1979. S . C. N. India. 3 . The one-time enrollment session requires three reference signatures and lasts about 30 sec. Ohio.. Herbst. 5. Jan. Universite Paris. Lu. Roorkee. 7. robotics. he worked as Assistant ProfessoriProfessor at University of Roorkee. SMC-13. Jan. Peaks in Reference Distance Distance Dimnce Distance [Valley (Row)] (Valley (Col)] [Peak (Row)] [Peak (Col)] [2000] [500] [3000] [500] 2100 3.\. degrees from the State University of New York.. Mar. the forgery will never be accepted by the system. The authors are also Dinesh P. sec No. Cyberti. PAMI-6. "On-Line Handwritten Signature Recognition Based on Data-Analysis and Clustering. He has published over 40 technical papers in related areas. S . which is difficult to forge. June 1988 57 . p. The probability of matching the PIN number as well as the nominal parameter values is quite low.OO 3299. we believe our performance figures are sufficiently encouraging to indicate the feasibility of signature verification as a means of personal identification.0 5012. The system was tested over a six-week period. An important aspect of the verification technique is that it depends on the dynamic pressure of the signature waveform. Det. "Automatic Signature Verification Using a Three-Axis Force Sensitive Pen. no. no forger could break into the system. PAMI-7. Mudiitie Iritc41. Dean. May 1985. Nanyang Technological Institute. 7. Currently. Res. vol." Laboratorie de Genie Eletrique de Creteil. Atiuly. lrircJll. the two people will have difTerent PIN numbers. no. Man. Ostrem.OO 4 167 . vol. I . Herbst. Kanpur. De Figueiredo and C-L. no. Thereafter. one person's verification parameters may come within the tolerance range of another person's parameters. PAMI-4.7. Nemcek and W. P.D. Stony Brook. "Wavefomi Correlation by Tree Matching. France 1984. Mar.lop. During testing. vol. N. References G. Of course. he worked for NCR Corporation. Aiiu/y. 3. In Fig. Hu.. The authors would like to thank Professor Brian Lee. Y-C.25 624 1 . 1974. C. Muti. His current areas of research include microprocessor applications. Peaks in Sample No. during our testing session. 1982. Lin." IEEE Trun. so that it is possible to verify a signature in approximately 4-5 sec. C. Crane and J . Despite many intrinsic human-factor problems. 245. Y. MaylJune 1983.50 grateful to the Applied Research Fund for providing financial assistance. from 1976 to 1983.. H." IEEE Trutis. F. SMC-9.

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