Fingerprint protected phones can be hacked with an Inkjet Printer



For past one year, we have seen the growing trend of the fingerprint sensor in smartphones. Every flagship device comes with the fingerprint sensor to provide additional security option. Not just flagship, many mid-range devices including Lenovo Vibe P1, K4 Note, Le 1S and Honor 5X are also offering fingerprint sensor. Now, this feature is also available in entry-level phones like Coolpad Note 3 Lite.

While we have the perception that phones locked with fingerprint cannot be unlocked with our finger, Kai Cao and Anil K. Jain from the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Michigan State University have broken our myth. They have shown how to unlock the devices with the method of spoofing fingerprints.

Also see: Phones with fingerprint sensor

They carried a simple attack which cost them less than $500. They used a regular inkjet printer,  three AgIC silver conductive ink cartridges, a normal black ink cartridge, and special AgIC paper to spoof a fingerprint. Getting a fingerprint of a person is not a difficult task. Even the stolen phones can reveal the fingerprints of the person. Scan it at 300dpi, flip it horizontally and then print it on the glossy side of the special AgIC paper. Now, use this printed fingerprint to unlock the phone.

Also read: Things to consider while buying used mobile phone

The phone will recognize the fingerprint and will grant the access to the phone. It takes only 15 minutes to carry out this attack. They used Samsung Galaxy S6 and Huawei Honor 7 in test and found this method working. They also confirmed that Samsung was easy to crack while Huawei phone needed extra efforts.

You should Hacking Mobile Phones Using 2D Printed Fingerprints research paper to know about this attack in details.

Watch the video below to see this attack in action: