Hacker Uses Photographs To Hack German Defense Minister’s Fingerprints. Brings Attention To Security Failures

Dec 30, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

Hacker Uses Photographs To Hack German Defense Minister’s Fingerprints. Brings Attention To Security Failures

Dec 30, 2014

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

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Jan Krissler, a 31- year old hacker, has discovered a serious security breach that could affect millions of people. Krissler, who works under the pseudonym “Starbug” claims he can recreate a fingerprint using a few images taken with a “standard photo camera”.

Krissler told his audience during a presentation in front of the Chaos Computer Club (the largest hacker organization in Europe) that he had successfully duplicated the fingerprints of German defense minister, Ursula von der Leyen. Krissler explained that he pulled the hack off using a close up shot of von der Leven’s thumb along with a few other shots of the defense minister taken from different angles. He says he confirmed the replicated thumbprints to be accurate using popular fingerprinting software, VeriFinger.

It is not uncommon to see the types of images Krissler used to recreate the fingerprints. A quick internet search reveals they could easily be sourced through public image sharing sites, news sites, and social media, putting just about anyone who has had their hands photographed at risk. Though fingerprints have a long history of being stolen, the fact that no direct contact with the individual or something they have physically touched is needed, sets this discovery apart from other fingerprint security breaches.

This isn’t the first time Krissler has used photography to sniff out potential security risks. He’s also pointed out how simple it is to trick face recognition software using a printed out copy of a portrait. You can watch Krissler’s entire speech (in German with subtitle options) explaining his concerns in the Youtube clip, here:

http://youtu.be/pIY6k4gvQsY

[ via Business Insider | BBC | Photo by Jakob ]

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Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller

Tiffany Mueller is a photographer based in Hawi, Hawaii. You can follow her Twitter here and her personal life here.

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4 responses to “Hacker Uses Photographs To Hack German Defense Minister’s Fingerprints. Brings Attention To Security Failures”

  1. udi tirosh Avatar
    udi tirosh

    Why am I not surprised this is happening… Along with the fact the the first amendment does not protect you from disclosing your finger-pass this makes fingerprints as the sole means of protection practically useless.

  2. Amaryllis Avatar
    Amaryllis

    I keep killing and altering my fingerprints every time I take a sharp object because I’m clumsy, so fingerprint recognition would be pretty much wasted on me to begin with, I think… but I do have to say I’m surprised this hasn’t happened before.

  3. Arthur_P_Dent Avatar
    Arthur_P_Dent

    And this relates to DIY photography how?

    1. udi tirosh Avatar
      udi tirosh

      hacking Germany’s Defense Minister’s accounts with a photo, how is it not?