Physical access to a fingerprint may not be required to exploit fingerprint readers, according to European hacker Jan Krissler. During the recent Chaos Computer Conference in Germany, Krissler demonstrated how he faked the fingerprint of Germany's federal minister of defense, Ursula von der Leyen.
Krissler had a photographer take high-resolution photos of her fingers during a presentation in October, while standing about nine feet away from von der Leyen. Krissler used the commercially available VeriFinger software on the digital copy of von der Leyen's finger. Although Krissler was unable to verify that von der Leyen's fingerprint was accurate, he is confident it was a workable copy. "I have tried it with my own finger under similar circumstances [same camera, same distance]," he says.
Apple's Touch ID technology gave new momentum to the idea of using biometric readers, but Krissler's presentation could raise more questions about the vulnerability of fingerprint scanners.
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