Plasticine finger fools smartphone security scanners

Plasticine finger fools smartphone security scanners

Fingerprint scanners may have been hailed by smartphone manufacturers as the next big thing in cyber security, but this notion has been cast into shadow after a Chinese company fooled one with a fake finger.

Vkansee is a Chinese manufacturer of high-resolution fingerprint scanners. In a bid to show just how flimsy the current market is (and in doing so illustrate their superior offering), the company fooled existing sensors with a clay mould. This wasn’t just a vanity exercise, however, as Vkansee claims that cybercriminals are likely to start doing exactly what the company managed.

Though the company’s president, Jason Chaikin, admitted that creating a realistic clay finger took time and effort, it was something of which criminals would most certainly be capable. In fact, though the mould took time, the fake finger was made out of little more than common modelling clay.

The reliance on fingerprint scanners and the ways in which they can be hacked, Chaikin claimed, has created an ‘arms race’ between technologists and cyber thieves. Manufacturers now seek to develop new, watertight biometric security tools faster than the crooks learn how to crack them.

Vkansee’s own development (the VK2108) is just 1.5mm think and can be bonded under 0.4-0.8mm cover glass. Despite its small size, the sensor can offer 2000 PPI resolution, even reading sweat pores and fingerprint ridges. In short, it has four-times higher resolution than the current industry standard – allowing it to pick up more details on the finger.

Speaking to bbc.co.uk, Chaikin said: “Our device is very different. Because it’s four-times the resolution, it picks up micro-features of the fingerprint. These are very hard to make a fake fingerprint mould [of], and therefore make a fake fingerprint copy.”

When challenged on the notion that cyber thieves would just be able to develop even more sophisticated fakes, Chaikin claimed that his solution was the right one for now, and that more developments would come in the future as and when they were needed to outfox the criminals.

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