Hacker Clones A Politician’s Fingerprint Using Just Photographs

December 29, 2014 | Rhett Jones

In an example of the ways that hackers actually perform a service by pointing out security flaws, Jan Krissler says he cloned a German politician’s thumbprint using nothing but a close-up photo that was taken by a “standard photo camera” and various angles from press photos.

Krissler is a member of the Chaos Computer Club, which claims to be Europe’s largest association of hackers. For his presentation at its annual convention, he presented his methods for reconstructing the finger print of Germany’s Defense Minister, Ursula von der Leyen. Krissler believes that after his demonstration of how easy it is to jack a fingerprint, “politicians will presumably wear gloves when talking in public.”

Though various cellphones offer fingerprint identification — and Brazil actually uses it for voting — most security experts say it’s a very weak form of identification because it can be faked. The latest innovations in the field are moving towards identifying people based on what’s called living biometrics. Cybersecurity expert Professor Alan Woodward tells the BBC, “People are starting to look for things where the biometric is alive – vein recognition in fingers, gait [body motion] analysis – they are also biometrics but they are chosen because the person has to be in possession of them and exhibiting them in real life.”

Considering that wearing gloves at all times wouldn’t be ideal for politicians, you can probably expect some living biometric reforms for a government overlord near you quite soon.

(Photo: Wikipedia)