TECH

Hacker Steals Fingerprint Using Just A Digital Camera

30/12/2014 09:16 GMT | Updated 30/12/2014 09:59 GMT

A hacker has successfully demonstrated how one person can steal a fingerprint sample from another using nothing more than a digital camera and some specialist software.

Jan Krissler, a member of the computer hacking collective the Chaos Computer Club, showed how he was able to take pictures of the thumb belonging to Germany's federal minister of defence and then turn those photos into a usable fingerprint sample.

How? A colleague was able to take pictures of Ursula von der Leyen's hands while she was giving a presentation in October. Krissler was then able to use those photos to create a digital copy of the minister's thumb print.

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While being able to copy someone's fingerprint is nothing new -- indeed many have shown that even Apple's Touch ID is susceptible to fakes -- this is the first time that someone has been able to gain a fingerprint without ever having met the person.

With biometric security fast becoming one of the last safeguards for online and personal privacy Krissler hopes his demonstration will force the industry to work harder in securing fingerprint scanners against fakes.