Researches done by the researchers at the Cisco Talos Cybersecurity group shows how one could easily unlock any fingerprint lock enabled device with the help of 3D printed fingerprints. This was done on a number of smartphones and laptops and the researchers attained an 80% success rate. This research shows how secure is our device even with the fingerprint lock enabled.
The researchers made use of a 3D printer to create fake 3D fingerprints molds and cures them in a UV chamber. The same fake fingerprint was used in different devices to test and surprisingly a good number of devices unlocked with this method.
For starters, there are different types of fingerprint sensors. Capacitive, optical and ultrasonic are the three most used fingerprint sensors in smartphones and laptops. Capacitive fingerprint scanner uses our body’s natural electrical current to read fingerprints, optical sensors use light to scan the fingerprint and lastly ultrasonic fingerprint readers use ultrasonic waves to read fingerprints. These waves will hit the finger and bounce back to the sensor. It is commonly used in devices with an in-display fingerprint scanner. AMOLED screens are required for this type of fingerprint reader to work.
The materials used by the researchers on different sensors were different. A researcher said, “During our tests, it became clear that the material used is a determining factor depending on the kind of sensor, especially when comparing sonic with capacitive sensors. To increase our success rate, we used silicon and different kinds of glue, mixed with conductive (graphite and aluminum) powder“.
Researchers were able to successfully unlock iPhone 8, Huawei P30 Lite, MacBook Pro 2018, Samsung Galaxy S10, iPad 5th Gen, Honor 7X, AICase Padlock and Samsung Galaxy Note 9.
However, the researchers failed to unlock some other devices like a Luxar Jumpdrive Fingerprint F35, Verbatim Fingerprint Secure USB encrypted Pendrive and Samsung A70 smartphone.
So this is how a fingerprint lock enabled smartphone or other device can be easily unlocked with the help of fake 3D printed Fingerprints. You can read the full analysis here or watch the video on YouTube.