Generating Master Faces for Use in Performing Wolf Attacks on Face Recognition Systems

Huy H. Nguyen, Junichi Yamagishi, Isao Echizen, Sebastien Marcel

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Due to its convenience, biometric authentication, especial face authentication, has become increasingly mainstream and thus is now a prime target for attackers. Presentation attacks and face morphing are typical types of attack. Previous research has shown that fingervein- and fingerprint-based authentication methods are susceptible to wolf attacks, in which a wolf sample matches many enrolled user templates. In this work, we demonstrated that wolf (generic) faces, which we call “master faces,” can also compromise face recognition systems and that the masterface concept can be generalized in some cases. Motivated by recent similar work in the fingerprint domain, we generated high-quality master faces by using the state-of-the-art face generator StyleGAN in a process called latent variable evolution. Experiments demonstrated that even attackers with limited resources using only pre-trained models available on the Internet can initiate master face attacks. The results, in addition to demonstrating performance from the attacker’s point of view, can also be used to clarify and improve the performance of face recognition systems and harden face authentication systems.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2020 IEEE International Joint Conference on Biometrics (IJCB)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-7281-9186-7
ISBN (Print)978-1-7281-9187-4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2021
EventThe 2020 International Joint Conference on Biometrics - Virtual conference, United States
Duration: 28 Sep 20201 Oct 2020

Publication series

ISSN (Print)2474-9680
ISSN (Electronic)2474-9699


ConferenceThe 2020 International Joint Conference on Biometrics
Abbreviated titleIJCB 2020
CountryUnited States
CityVirtual conference
Internet address

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