Skip to comments.Gummi bears defeat fingerprint sensors
Posted on 05/17/2002 5:18:07 AM PDT by Free Fire Zone
Gummi bears defeat fingerprint sensors
By John Leyden
Posted: 16/05/2002 at 12:29 GMT
A Japanese cryptographer has demonstrated how fingerprint recognition devices can be fooled using a combination of low cunning, cheap kitchen supplies and a digital camera.
First Tsutomu Matsumoto used gelatine (as found in Gummi Bears and other sweets) and a plastic mould to create a fake finger, which he found fooled fingerprint detectors four times out of five.
Flushed with his success, he took latent fingerprints from a glass, which he enhanced with a cyanoacrylate adhesive (super-glue fumes) and photographed with a digital camera. Using PhotoShop, he improved the contrast of the image and printed the fingerprint onto a transparency sheet.
Here comes the clever bit.
Matsumoto took a photo-sensitive printed-circuit board (which can be found in many electronic hobby shops) and used the fingerprint transparency to etch the fingerprint into the copper.
From this he made a gelatine finger using the print on the PCB, using the same process as before. Again this fooled fingerprint detectors about 80 per cent of the time.
Fingerprint biometric devices, which attempt to identify people on the basis of their fingerprint, are touted as highly secure and almost impossible to fool but Matsumoto's work calls this comforting notion into question. The equipment he used is neither particularly hi-tech, nor expensive and if Matsumoto can pull off the trick what would corporate espionage boffins be capable of?
Matsumoto tried these attacks against eleven commercially available fingerprint biometric systems, and was able to reliably fool all of them.
Noted cryptographer Bruce Schneier, the founder and CTO of Counterpane Internet Security, described Matsumoto's work as more than impressive.
"The results are enough to scrap the systems completely, and to send the various fingerprint biometric companies packing," said Schneier in yesterday's edition of his Crypto-Gram newsletter, which first publicised the issue. ®
So, is it that much more of a step for some enterprising hobbyist to come up with a technique to fool these newfangled retinal scan devices? Just wondering.
Clayton Cramer, a software engineer by day, and an amateur historian in his "too much time", singlehandedly lead a crusade debunking the lies of "Arming America."
The passengers of United Flight 93 did what our government could not, stop a hijacked airliner from crashing into a national landmark.
Just look at FR itself if you need more examples of people doing great work with "too much free time." Freeper RLK, a physicist by training, provides some of the most insightful, far-looking political analysis anywhere, and he mixes it with humor, reason, and solid psychological insight. Freeper JohnHuang2's essays typically say more in a few paragraphs than the editorial pages of most U.S. papers.
The "blogosphere" is full of such people, commentators from all walks of life offering better, and more, daily fodder than most newspaper columnists.
I for one am glad that so many people have "too much time on their hands." Our lives are better because of their passion and because of their constructive use of their non-job hours every day.
naah... the problem is merely to crack a fingerprint database (or bribe a barbie-doll at the FBI to download it for you).
There could be some validation on top of the fingerprint scan.
I wouldn't hold my breath... all the management types with the Harvard MBAs are going to latch on to the "secure" biometric ID technology, breathe a giant sigh of relief, and tootle off to their golf game... (one would like to be a fly on the 13th hole marker when their cell-phone rings, to be able to watch their face as they are informed of the consequences of their "expertise" in selecting a "security vendor", but...)