Feeds

Fingerprint scans learn to spot chopped-off fingers

Also Gummi Bears, zombies, other common fakes

Boost IT visibility and business value

What do Gummi Bears and amputated fingers have in common? They’ve both been demonstrated as techniques for defeating fingerprint scanners. Now, a German company called Dermalog Identification Systems is using the way skin changes colour under pressure to block both the soft sweet and the dead hand of the zombie from accessing systems protected by fingerprint scans.

The problem is that if a scanner responds only to the image of the fingerprint, you don’t need a living print to be accepted. An impression of a print on a Gummi Bear, or if you’re of a more gruesome mindset, a finger removed from a user (either living or dead), can be scanned as a valid fingerprint.

However, if you’ve ever looked at what happens to skin if you put pressure on it, you’ll know that it changes colour. Dermalog has tagged that colour change as the characteristic that can separate the living from the dead.

When you press a finger against a surface – such as the scanner surface – blood is squeezed away from the surface. According to Dermalog’s research, published in Forensic Science International, that blanching is predictable and measurable. Living fingers absorb light at 550 nanometers when they first press the contact, and after the skin has “blanched”, at 1450nm.

As for that zombie you saw shambling down the street with a copy of the Communist Manifesto in one hand and Atlas Shrugged in the other: blood isn’t pumping any more, so there’s none in the capillaries to squeeze out; and without blanching, the characteristic changes in colour absorption won’t be observed.

To identify the telltale wavelengths, researchers say they tested “reflection and transmission spectra in the wavelength region from 400 to 1650nm” on both “living volunteers and corpses”. ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
Microsoft: We plan to CLEAN UP this here Windows Store town
Paid-for apps that provide free downloads? Really
Snowden on NSA's MonsterMind TERROR: It may trigger cyberwar
Plus: Syria's internet going down? That was a US cock-up
Who needs hackers? 'Password1' opens a third of all biz doors
GPU-powered pen test yields more bad news about defences and passwords
e-Borders fiasco: Brits stung for £224m after US IT giant sues UK govt
Defeat to Raytheon branded 'catastrophic result'
Hear ye, young cyber warriors of the realm: GCHQ wants you
Get involved, get a job and then never discuss work ever again
Chinese hackers spied on investigators of Flight MH370 - report
Classified data on flight's disappearance pinched
Microsoft cries UNINSTALL in the wake of Blue Screens of Death™
Cache crash causes contained choloric calamity
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
BYOD's dark side: Data protection
An endpoint data protection solution that adds value to the user and the organization so it can protect itself from data loss as well as leverage corporate data.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?