Fingerprint biometric technology being targeted by hackers
Protect your fingers. Hackers are proving they can lift your fingerprints from a simple photograph and use them to break into your electronic devices.
Last week, a German hacking group recreated the fingerprints of a government official by analyzing photographs of her hands.
If you have a newer iPhone, you know all about the fingerprint technology that will unlock your phone. It makes our lives so much easier, but it is also making it easier for hackers to gain access to your personal information.
Your phone likely carries just about all of your personal information -- everything from your bank account to your photos. So when unlocking a phone with a fingerprint came along, it became the newest challenge for hackers. But it wasn't much of one. A photo can give them all they need.
"They need access to a full-scale replica of your fingerprint, either a high resolution or high definition digital photography that has your fingers exposed," said cyber security expert Sean McGurk. "Then someone could lift the information."
Cyber security experts say lifting fingerprints are easier than ever if you know how to do it.
"In law enforcement today, they have the little gel packs that actually adhere to the oils in the fingerprint, so if you touch a glass, it is essentially almost like super glue," McGurk said. "The fumes adhere to the fingerprint and then they could lift that off."
So how can we stay ahead of the hackers? It is all about more than one level of security.
"It's what you know, it's who you are and it's what you have, and that's what we refer to as the three-factor authentication."
For instance, it is a secret word or code, a badge or key and a biometric characteristic such as your fingerprint.
And the security risk isn't just limited to your phone. McGurk says medical devices are the new hot item for hackers. Pacemakers and insulin pumps that are controlled by computers are hackable and are the next frontier for security experts.