Two researchers from Michigan State University have come up with a new method to subvert smartphones with fingerprint biometrics. It’s possible to spoof a device in 15 minutes or less with this attack, and all you need is an inkjet printer.

That’s right. With gear costing less than $500, the researchers were able to print out a fingerprint and use it to unlock a phone.

The Tools

  • Regular inkjet printer
  • AgIC silver conductive ink cartridges (x3)
  • Regular black ink cartridge (x1)
  • AgIC paper

Using these tools, a hacker could lift a smartphone owner’s fingerprint, scan it at 300 dpi (dots-per-inch), horizontally flip it, then print it on the glossy side of the special AgIC paper. Cut out the print and place it on the smartphone’s fingerprint scanner. The hack was successfully used on a Samsung Galaxy S6 and a Huawei Honor 7, with the researchers saying that the Samsung phone was easy to crack while the Huawei phone took more tries. Check out the YouTube video below:

The researchers wrote a white paper detailing the attack, which you can read here.

Source: MSU Research Paper
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