By: patrickdamon_admin On: January 19, 2017 In: Articles, Blog Comments: 0

This is something that I found pretty interesting on one of my favorite photography sites (digitalrev.com) and wanted to share it with you guys as a PSA.

Though it may be oh so kawaii, you may want to think twice about flashing an anime-style V-fingered peace sign in your next selfie. A scientific report from Japan claims it could lead to your identity being stolen.

Ridiculously dramatic as that may seem, the issue stems from the widespread use of fingerprint recognition technology. Used in all manner of life from smartphones to shop transactions, fingerprint verification was seen as one of the most reliable and user-specific forms of identification. Research conducted by the National Institute of Informatics in Tokyo has concluded that due to advances in digital image capture this system may not be as secure as we thought.

The findings caught public attention on Monday, in an article published by the Sankei Shimbum newspaper. In the article, NII researcher Isao Echizen told Sankei Shimbum “Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available.”

The NII team claims that the accurate reproduction of fingerprints was possible even working from a photo taken three metres away from a test subject. Far past maximum arm length, it is a testament to the high quality of digital cameras now available on the market. This combined with mass use of photo-sharing networks could be seen as a dangerous combination.

However, before we spark a massive spike in glove sales, let’s turn the panic dial down a notch.

For starters, the idea that there will ever be a perfect login system is an utter fallacy. Every system can and will be hacked given enough time. Indeed, as several news outlets have been keen to mention, this is not even the first time that we have seen this specific weakness in fingerprint verification exploited. In 2014, the cloning of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen’s fingerprints via photos was successfully undertaken in a demonstration by Chaos Computer Club, a Berlin hacking group.

In another piece of cheery reassurance, the process to perform this kind of skullduggery not only requires a lot of work and incredible skill but also ideal capture situations for the image themselves. As Echizen revealed to Yomiuri TV on the matter, “Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture.”

Mashable backed up the need for calm in their talk with Jason Chaikin, President of biometric verification company Vkansee. He pointed out that fingerprint security tools are not only upgrading their resolution past (a very hard to fool) 2000dpi but that these tools will soon take biometrics such as pulse and pressure into account.

“Ultimately, it’s really not that easy,” Chaikin told Mashable.

What may be most telling about the NII study being publicised, is that their team claims to be working on releasing a transparent titanium oxide film to combat this danger. Worn on the fingertips, it would disrupt clear image capture of prints in photos but still work when pressed against a scanner. Though the future of fingerprint security does bear some need for concern, it may be the case that NII are using their study to prey upon people’s fears to draw up interest in a product they wish to sell. A product that – to be honest – we doubt anyone would care to use otherwise.

Just to be safe, maybe tone down on the Churchill poses in the meantime.

(Cover Image: ‘Cherry Bomb flashing a sign’ /Tabercil /Wikimedia Commons)

original article here: digitalrev.com