Master Prints: overcoming the biometric security in smart phones

Master Prints: overcoming the biometric security in smart phones

Are you using fingerprints as part of the security of your mobile phone? And, you are thinking that the unique characteristics of your fingers provide satisfying protection, you may be wrong here! 

The fingerprint scanner is one of the most popular features in a Smartphone. It is helpful in unlocking a device and makes it faster to remove the lock of handsets than typing a pin number. People take it as the most effective technique to keep their valuable information safe. But many times researchers have said and proved that the fingerprint sensors in smart phones can be tricked sometimes with a lifted print or a person’s digitized fingerprint data. But a computer scientist of New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering has made it comes true and shocked the world by developing machine learning methods for generating fake fingerprints. It is called as DeepMasterPrints, which not only dupe Smartphone sensors but can successfully masquerade as prints from different people.

As per the report by TheNextWeb, these researchers have created a set of master fingerprint keys that can overcome biometric security features easily. It is basically a set of artificial prints that matched a random fingerprint that existed in a database one out of five times. The surprising thing about these artificially generated prints is that they do not require any source information from users.

The team of researchers is continuously working and making strategies to refine their innovation. And, they hope that their invention will bring awareness in the biometrics industry about the importance of defending against synthetic readings. According to them, developers must test their devices against the synthetic and also real prints once to ensure that the proprietary systems will spot phonies. The group think that it is an initial phase to scratch the surface of understanding how master prints succeed in tricking scanners. It may be possible that sensors could raise their fidelity or depth of analysis to the defeat master print

Very few people know that the fingerprint-based authentication system is based on small sensors, which do not capture the full fingerprint of a user but, they scan and store the partial fingerprints. The identity is confirmed when a fingerprint of user matches with any of the saved partial prints. The researchers say that there may be numerous similarities among different people’s partial prints and it could result in a MasterPrint.

Do we need to get worried?

There are various hurdles, which need an instant solution in terms of the finger sensor.  If a thief creates their own set of master prints, he can easily steal personal and other important datas. Though, we do not need to worry about it. It is a fact that creating a Masterpiece is not a piece of cake; it needs a lot of technological knowledge. Another factor is that any random person cannot get physical access to anyone’s phone to even have a chance of unlocking it.

Furthermore, fingerprint scanners are not the only phone security systems that have been probed and found wanting. A study was published early this year showed that the Pattern Lock System of Android Phone can also be cracked. The process of breaking the security comprises recording of the phone’s owner, unlocking the phone should be analyzed by high-level computer vision algorithm software, that is why it is not very likely to be applied widely.

One side, modern technology like MasterPrints is creating doubts in people’s mind, though; it is also helpful in staying advance to tackle the coming problems.

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