German researcher reverse-engineers a fingerprint using photos

December 30, 2014 - 

A German researcher from European hackers association Chaos Computer Club recently demonstrated a method to fool standard biometric security software by reverse-engineering a fingerprint using high-resolution photographs.

Jan Krissler, aka Starbug, showed a packed room at the annual congress in Hamburg, Germany his method to copy the thumbprint of German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen‘duplicate’ by using a few high-definition images and biometric identification software from Verifinger.

“After this talk, politicians will presumably wear gloves when talking in public,” joked Krissler on stage.

A video of the full demonstration is available in German.

This is not the first time that Starbug has exposed loopholes in biometric security. In September 2013, he spoofed Apple’s TouchID sensors less than a day after the release of the iPhone 5S.

Using wood glue and sprayable grapheme, Starbug was able to print an image of a ‘fake’ fingerprint which he lifted from a smudge on the iPhone screen and successfully unlock the phone.

Soon after, the Biometrics Institute campaigned for widespread adoption of the spoof detection technology.

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About Stephen Mayhew

Stephen Mayhew is the publisher and co-founder of Biometrics Research Group, Inc.. Connect with Stephen on LinkindIn.