Hacker: I Cloned Fingerprints From Photos

Says he stole German official's print using HD images
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2014 4:05 PM CST
Hacker: I Cloned Fingerprints From Photos
German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen speaks at the German parliament, Bundestag, on July 2, 2014.   (AP Photo/dpa, Hannibal Hanschke)

Fingerprints may not be as secure as you think. A hacker in Europe says he managed to create a copy of the German defense minister's thumb print using a digital camera and easy-to-get software, reports the BBC. Jan Krissler of the Chaos Computer Club says he used photos of Ursula von der Leyen's hands taken when she spoke at a news conference, along with commercial software called VeriFinger. From there he produced a digital copy of von der Leyen's thumb print that he says would fool any human or computer, though this hasn't been verified.

"I have tried it with my own finger under similar circumstances," he tells CNET. Von der Leyen's office says she was unaware of the stunt and had no comment. Krissler spoke of his feat at a recent CCC conference, hoping to demonstrate the vulnerability of fingerprint scanners as security measures. From the same conference, the Guardian takes note of another potential security flaw known as a "corneal keylogger." The idea is that hackers gain access to your smartphone's camera, then steal passwords as you're typing—by studying photos of the reflections in your eye. (Maybe your pulse rate is the key to online security.)

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