Disturbing news in the world of security: it seems it's possible to steal a person's thumbprint just by taking a photo of it. While that sure sounds like something out of sci-fi, it isn't far-fetched when you think about it. After all, optical character recognition (OCR) has progressed to the point it works just fine on our smartphones, so why wouldn't image processing advance to where whorls on our fingers can be captured and used in lieu of actual fingerprints?
The findings were revealed at a conference by a European hacker association, Chaos Computer Club (CCC).
The CCC is well-known for some of the scary stunts it pulls and this time is no exception - they managed to reconstruct what they say is German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen's fingerprint. What they managed to create, they claimed, would be able to fool standard biometric security software.
No photos of your hands, please
All you need, the group said, is a standard camera and the VeriFinger fingerprint recognition software. Things to note for leaders in the future: gloves just might be an essential accessory, at least if you don't want to compromise national security. Perhaps in future, news agencies might even be banned from taking pictures where fingerprints can be clearly reproduced.
You can see the group's presentation on YouTube but it might not make all that much sense to you if you don't speak German. In conclusion, don't rely only on biometrics to secure anything in your life - make it one layer of many. Just don't kill yourself trying to remember five different passwords for a single account.