Chaos Computer Club Can Reportedly Copy Your Fingerprint Using A Simple Digital Camera

An association of hackers known as Chaos Computer Club has found a way to reproduce fingerprints by using just a couple of photos of someone's fingers. The group explained its method at the 31st annual Chaos Computer Club convention in Hamburg, Germany, using the thumbprint of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen as an example.

This is an interesting development, as lifting fingerprints no longer requires that a person touch a physical object. Instead, hackers who use this technology can virtually swipe someone's fingerprints at public gatherings just by using a standard photo camera.

Fingerprint on Phone
Image Source: Flickr (Chris Isherwood)

"In the past years, it was successfully demonstrated a number of times how easily fingerprints can be stolen from its owner if a person touched any object with a polished surface (like a glass or a smartphone). This time new, sometimes surprising ways to gather biometric attributes will be introduced," the group said. "With this knowledge there will be no need to steal objects carrying the fingerprints anymore."

While this is scary stuff, it also needs to be put in perspective. Fingerprints are still relatively secure, especially compared to other methods, like using a PIN or 
password. The truth is, there doesn't exist a security system without vulnerabilities. However, some -- like fingerprints -- are more secure than others, especially when paired with a second authentication method.