Hacker Exposes Flaw in Fingerprint Security Systems
To many, the use of fingerprint readers as a way of password protection may represent the future of high-tech security. But a hacker has recently demonstrated that it's really not that difficult to bypass the security system -- all it takes, in fact, is a high-quality digital image.
There's no denying that fingerprint passwords are becoming more and more common. They can be used to access PCs and thumb drives, but are becoming most prevalent in the smartphone world, where a quick dab of the finger gives one access to their mobile device.
It seems like the perfect security system; after all, every fingerprint is different. It also takes a whole lot less time to simply touch a screen to gain access to a system, rather than enter a long and complicated passcode comprised of letters, numbers, and symbols.
Hacker Obtains Government Official's Biometric Data
But Germany-based hacker group The Chaos Computer Club has now revealed that there's an easy way to get around fingerprint protection. At last weekend's Chaos Communication Congress, Jan Krissler (known online as 'Starbug') took attendants through the process of copying the fingerprints of Ursula von der Leyen, Germany's Minister of Defense.
Krissler simply photographed the minister while she gave a speech. Using zoom technology, Krissler was able to capture images of the minister's fingerprints, which he then analyzed to gather her biometric data. Krissler says he could use this data to gain access to any device protected using the minister's own fingerprints.
"After this [demonstration], politicians will presumably wear gloves when talking in public," Krissler chuckled. (Source: pcmag.com)
Hack Casts Doubt On Fingerprint Protection
The good news is that such a hack cannot take place by remote. In other words, hackers would need access to a physical device intended to hack. But it is proof that fingerprint protection -- like the system used by the widely popular Apple iPhone 5S and Samsung Galaxy S5 -- is hardly the future of tech security. "This demonstrates ... that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as [an] access control method and should be avoided," the Chaos Computer Club said.
An alternative to fingerprint protection may be finger vein recognition, a system introduced by United Kingdom-based Barclays bank in September 2014. So far the system is only available to Barclays business customers, though cash machines in other parts of the world -- including Japan and Poland -- are currently testing the platform. (Source: bbc.com)
What's Your Opinion?
Do you use fingerprint protection, and if so, are you concerned about its ability to protect your data? Do you have a theory about the methods we will be using to protect our favorite devices in the future? Or do you think the old-fashioned passcode is here to stay?
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