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Thursday, January 1, 2015

Criminal Justice Quote: The Vulnerability of Fingerprint Scanner Systems

     Jim Krissler, a member of Europe's oldest hacker collective, the Chaos Computer Club, said he has developed the ability to copy fingerprints using a common digital camera. He made the announcement at the Chaos Computer Conference on December 27, 2014. His demonstration included creating a digital copy of a fingerprint of Germany's federal minister of defense, Ursula von der Leyen, using commercially available software called VeriFinger.

     Krissler said he had a photographer snap high-resolution photos of von der Leyen's fingers while she was giving a presentation in October 2014. The photographs were taken from nine feet away from the subject. Krissler said he wasn't able to verify von der Leyen's fingerprint was accurate, but was confident it was a workable copy…

     Krissler's presentation potentially calls into question the efficacy of fingerprint scanners as a security measure. While they have been around since the 1990s in consumer technology, it was Apple's move to include a fingerprint reader, which it calls Touch ID, into the iPhone 5S that revitalized the idea of using biometric readers. Samsung and HTC quickly followed by adding fingerprint readers in select smartphones. The reader replaces the need to enter a code to unlock a device or, in the case of mobile-payments system Apple Pay, verify a purchase…

     This isn't Krissler's first tangle with fingerprints. He was one of the first to demonstrate how to fake a fingerprint with wood glue to fool the IPhone 5S. "We hope that this finally puts to rest the illusions people have about fingerprint biometrics," Chaos Computer Club spokesperson Frank Rieger said in a statement. "It is plain stupid to use something that you can't change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token."…

Seth Rosenblatt, "Hacker Claims You Can Steal Fingerprints With Only a Camera," cnet.com, December 30, 2014 

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