Are fingerprint scanners secure and reliable? What do you think? Find out how to circumvent and hack fingerprint scanners.
Although they’re not completely impenetrable, fingerprint scanners are a good first line of security against hackers. Hackers are developing new ways to break fingerprint scanners as the number of devices supporting them increases.
Here are some techniques for hacking a fingerprint scanner.
Table of Contents
1. Making Use of Software Vulnerabilities to Avoid Scan
Some password managers recognize the user by scanning their fingerprints. Although useful for protecting passwords, the security of the password manager program determines how effective this method is. Hackers may use the program’s weak security defenses to avoid the fingerprint scan if it has any.
This issue is comparable to an airport’s increasing security. The front of the airport can have metal detectors installed, as well as guards and CCTV. But all that extra security would be for nothing if there’s a long-forgotten back entrance where anyone may slip in.
How to Stop Cybercriminals From Avoiding Scan
Typically, buying well-liked and well-known products is the best defense against this kind of attack. Despite this, well-known brands have access to so much data that they become prime targets for assaults.
As a result, it’s critical to maintain your security software updated in order to fix any issues discovered later, even if you exclusively use hardware from trustworthy manufacturers.
2. Making Use of the Scanner to Extract Unsecured Images
Your fingerprint image is the key to unlocking your scanners, and if someone steals it, they can access them. A fingerprint cannot be changed, unlike a password, which can. For hackers looking to bypass a fingerprint scanner, their persistence makes them an invaluable tool.
It’s unlikely that a hacker will wipe down anything you touch to capture your prints unless you’re extremely well-known or powerful. The likelihood of a hacker targeting your devices or scanners in the hopes that it has your raw fingerprint data is higher.
A base image of your fingerprint is required for a scanner to recognize you. When you set up the scanner, you give it a print, and it takes a picture of it and stores it in memory. Every time you use the scanner after that, it refers back to this image to confirm that the finger being scanned is the same as the one you provided during setup.
This image is unfortunately saved unencrypted by some devices or scanners. In the event that a hacker gains access to the storage, they will have no trouble taking the photo and gathering your fingerprint information.
How to Avoid Your Fingerprints from Being “Stolen”
Considering the security of the gadget you’re using is necessary to prevent this kind of assault. A quality fingerprint scanner should encrypt the picture file to shield your biometric information from prying eyes.
Check again to make sure that your fingerprint images are being stored correctly by your fingerprint scanner. You should cease using your device right once if you discover that it is not securely saving your fingerprint image. To prevent hackers from copying the image file for themselves, you might also consider wiping it.
Read More: 7 Best Free Police Scanner Apps
3. Cracking Fingerprint Security using Masterprints
Fingerprint scanners have what are known as “masterprints,” which are similar to master keys that can open every lock in a physical lock. These fingerprints were generated specifically for you and include all the characteristics that are present on every finger.
Masterprints can be used by hackers to access systems with inferior scanning methods. A less capable scanner found in a smartphone might not be as thorough with its checks, even though proper scanners will recognize and reject a masterprint. As a result, a masterprint is a useful method for hackers to access systems that are sloppy in their scanning.
Preventing Against a Masterprint Attack
Using a fingerprint scanner that doesn’t cut corners on the scan is the best method to protect yourself against this kind of attack. Masterprints take advantage of scanners that just run a “good enough” scan without paying attention to the small print.
Do some study on fingerprint scanners before putting your trust in one. The ideal statistic to find is the False Acceptance Rate (FAR). The probability of an unauthorized fingerprint accessing a system is represented by the FAR percentage. The likelihood that your scanner will reject a masterprint increases as this proportion decreases.
4. Cracking Security using Forged Fingerprints
The hacker has the option to construct a fingerprint in the absence of an unprotected image. To get around the scanner, this approach entails obtaining the target’s prints and replicating them.
This approach is probably not used by hackers to target members of the general public, but if you work in management or government, you should be aware of it. The German defense minister’s fingerprint was successfully recreated by a hacker, according to an article from The Guardian from a few years ago.
A hacker can recreate an image of a fingerprint in physical form in a number of ways. The hand can be reproduced in wax or wood, printed on special paper using silver conductive ink, and then placed on the scanner.
How to Stop Your Fingerprints from Being “Stolen”
Unfortunately, you cannot immediately evade this attack. There is nothing you can do to stop a hacker from creating a model of your fingerprint if they successfully compromise your fingerprint scanner and manage to obtain your fingerprint.
Stopping fingerprint acquisition in the first place is the key to thwarting this threat. Although we don’t advise you to start living like a burglar and always wearing gloves, it’s wise to be aware of the danger of your fingerprint information becoming public knowledge. Recently, there have been many instances of sensitive information database leaks, so it is something to think about.
Make sure to only provide accurate fingerprint information for reputable products and services. Hackers might link your name to your fingerprint and compromise your scanners if a less-than-stellar service experiences a database breach and they hadn’t protected their fingerprint photos.
Read More: 10 Best Free Disk Space Analyzer Tools
5. Utilizing the residual fingerprints you leave behind
Sometimes a hacker doesn’t need to use any sophisticated methods to obtain your fingerprints. They occasionally get around security measures by using the leftovers of an earlier fingerprint scan.
As you use things, your fingerprints are left behind, and the fingerprint scanner is no different. Any prints that are extracted from a scanner are almost certain to be the same as the ones that unlock it. It resembles forgetting the key is in the lock after opening a door.
Even then, a hacker might not even need to copy the scans’ prints. Smartphones use light to shine onto the finger, then record how the light reflects back into the sensors to identify fingerprints. Hackers can deceive this scanning technique into accepting a residual fingerprint, according to a Threatpost study.
By covering the smartphone fingerprint scanner with an opaque reflective surface, researcher Yang Yu managed to deceive the device into accepting a residual fingerprint scan. He gained in after the reflective surface tricked the scanner into thinking the lone print was an actual finger.
How not to leave a trace of your fingers
This one is straightforward: clean your fingerprint readers! It’s important to keep your fingerprints off scanners because they naturally have them all over them. As a result, hackers won’t be able to use your scanner against you.
Despite being a helpful tool, fingerprint scanners are not completely secure. Use a fingerprint scanner safely by following these guidelines. Be very cautious while handling your biometric information because your fingerprint is the passcode of every scanner you use.
Do you desire to be informed whenever someone tries to access your Android device? If that’s the case, there are apps available that alert you when someone tries to access your device.