A group of hackers who work as part of the X-Lab security research team at Tencent have recently demonstrated how any fingerprint scanner can be hacked using equipments which only cost $140 (£108) and an app that analyzes a photograph of the fingerprint.

During the demonstration, they requested some random audience members to touch a glass. The fingerprints left behind were then photographed using a smartphone and passed through an app that the hackers have developed. The cloning methodology of the app was not disclosed due to security reasons. However, the app is known to extract the data required to clone a fingerprint, which presumably uses a 3D printer.

Three different fingerprint scanning technologies in use across the smartphone industry: capacitive, optical and ultrasonic were defeated, and the entire process from photographing the fingerprint to unlocking the device took just 20 minutes.

There have been numerous examples of fingerprint cloning methods that have worked in the past. These include the use of tinfoil and hot-glue guns, AI print cloning, 3D printing itself and a $3 (£2.30) screen protector.

Condition Zebra (an International IT security services, training and certification provider) would like to recommend users to use multi factor authentications such as fingerprint, PIN and password to mitigate these kind of risks. However, users should not panic because the attacker would then need to have physical access to the smartphone for this to work. Despite requiring physical access, it is important for all users to have an awareness on cybersecurity to prevent themselves from being a victim. Bookmark our blog to receive latest news on cybersecurity now.

Source: Forbes