Don’t Post a Peace Sign in Selfies as “Hackers May Steal Your Fingerprints”

Unlike passwords, biometrics cannot be easily changed, prompting fears over the safety of people's personal data.

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Is flashing the “PEACE” sign in selfies or photos posted on social media an easy way to hand over your fingerprints to hackers?

U.S President-elect Donald Trump regularly flashes a peace sign at cameras.

You and Trump might be compromising your fingerprints.

Sharing pictures, however, is something everyone is comfortable with.

But research has revealed that these can also be used to glean telling information.

Posing for a picture while holding your hands up in a peace sign could pose a security threat, with hackers able to recreate prints that are the key to phones, computers and tablets, according to the British Telegraph newspaper report.

“Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available,” Professor Isao Echizen, a security and digital media researcher at the NII, told local paper Sankei Shimbun.

The newspaper said that a team of researchers from the National Institute of Informatics (NII) in Japan have found it is possible to copy fingerprints based on photographs taken by a digital camera from a distance of nine feet.

Business woman touch imaginary screen
Business woman touch imaginary screen (Photo Credit: leungchopan Shutterstock)

Fingerprint recognition technology is becoming increasingly widespread as a high-tech means of identifying individuals, with a range of uses from logging into to mobile devices to making payments.

The product – called BiometricJammer – will be ready for use in two years and has been designed to limit identity theft, without preventing fingerprints from being effective in identify verification.

“The transparent film with white patterns we have developed can prevent identity theft through fake fingerprints from photographed subjects, but does not interfere with identity verification with fingerprint authentication device,” Dr Echizen told the Telegraph.

From logging onto computers to withdrawing ATM cash, a growing number of industries are investing in biometric authentication systems using technology based on fingerprints or facial features as an alternative to passwords.

The global market for biometrics has been forecast to grow from £1.6 billion (US$2 billion) in 2015 to £12.2 billion ($14.9 billion) by 2024, in particular in relation to financial services, consumer devices, healthcare and governments, according to Tractica, the US IT market intelligence firm.

For more read The Telegraph report here.

 

 

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