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Computer Scientists Are Developing A ‘Master’ Fingerprint That Could Unlock Your Phone

Postby sunnyd » Mon Apr 17, 2017 2:39 pm

Story : http://www.popsci.com/computer-scientists-are-developing-master-fingerprint-that





Fingerprint readers, like the TouchID on an iPhone, exist to make your device extra secure while keeping the process of unlocking it easy. Computer scientists at New York University and Michigan State are poised to turn that security benefit on its head. Like a master key that can open any lock, these researchers developed digital “master prints” that could emulate a variety of partial fingerprints enough to hypothetically hack into a device.

The researchers wondered if there was a fingerprint equivalent to a common four-digit security code, like “1234.” Using analysis from a digital database, they discovered that, indeed, a master print could successfully mimic a random fingerprint 26 to 65 percent of the time, according to the study. Why such a huge range? It depends on the scale of the fingerprint database; the more partial fingerprints enrolled in a fingerprint sensor system, the greater the chances are that a master print could unlock it.

There are several security issues at play. One, fingerprint sensors on smartphones are usually small, and two, a user can enroll multiple fingers. What’s more, a phone usually gives you several attempts to unlock it with your print.

“The sensors are small and they don’t capture the full fingerprint,” says Nasir Memon, a computer scientist at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering and one of the authors of the study.







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