HOWTO Beat Fingerprint Scanners: With Play-Doh

from the fun-with-fingers dept

While researchers are constantly trying to come up with new biometric security methods, the fingerprint scanner has established itself as a trusted piece of equipment, even making its way onto laptops and mobile phones. But a new study says that 90% of scanners can be fooled by a fingerprint made from Play-Doh. As Engadget points out, that’s good news for people worried about losing their fingers to thieves. No word, however, on the effectiveness of Silly Putty.

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Comments on “HOWTO Beat Fingerprint Scanners: With Play-Doh”

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flex says:

Re: wouldn't the fingerprint be backwards?

finger scanners just pick up a number of main points on your finger… they must only match the same as how it was enter’d into the system. they are a simple tool to use, but we must also remember that for the majority of users, they are..excuse me but ignorant to how things really work, and won’t take the time to research anything.

Stephen Tillman says:

No Subject Given

Silly putty would actually not work. The silicone-base of the silly putty is to “fluid”. It would lose the shape of the print long before it was used.

But, the question remains now… if I had a picture of your fingerprint (probably in newsprint), would I be able to use the “comic copy” effect to dupe your print? And what about if I stretch it out? would it work then?

Ok… now I’m just being silly.

Rikko says:

Re: No Subject Given

But, the question remains now… if I had a picture of your fingerprint (probably in newsprint), would I be able to use the “comic copy” effect to dupe your print? And what about if I stretch it out? would it work then?

As long as you don’t put the silly putty on printed material or that’ll be a DMCA violation and they’ll try you as a witch.

Wireless Guy says:

That is why

The military never has accepted any fingerprint system without some other version of biometrics around that technology. Simply putting in a system that would look for heartbeat associated with the print at the same time would increase security 20 times over. If the military doesn’t allow it, why should you? I mean you can send Secret material in postal mail.

Saruman says:

Re: That is why

I agree. Problem is, most any biometric can be faked, if it relies on only 1 or 2 factors. Lets take Gattaca (dna via blood), Alien Resurrection (breath and voice analysis), Star Trek (voice and eyeball scan), X-Men (eye scan, voice)…all of the above mentioned movies show ways on how the system can be defeated, no matter how near or far into the future you go (or mutated you are =).
Pretty much the only way to get it right is to submit a full body into the process, and account for every aspect of a human being, including weight, age, skin color, hair, eyes, dna, brainwave patterns, foot and finger prints, breaks in bones, medical conditions…. I can go on with a mile long list. Come up with a system that can do all that, and I can guarantee that every gov’t and corporate entity will want a piece of that technology. And you can kiss all your freedoms goodbye =)

Chris Maresca (user link) says:

Can't rotate the password...

The problem with ALL biometric technology is that once they are hacked (and the fingerprint thing is not new), you can’t rotate the password or reissue the token.

Eventually, all of the authentication technologies based on physical attributes will be useless as they will be in some way compromised. A better solution would be two-factor authentication with something you have (eg. a piece of hardware) being the second factor, not your physical characteristics…


Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Can't rotate the password...

It is true that any biometric form of authentication can be compromised. I truly think biometrics is a great idea, however. Lets say you were at the ATM, why can’t we use biometric fingerprint scanners to pull up your accounts, and then combine that with a pin number. This eliminates an ATM card, and to be honest, if someone knows your PIN, it’s a lot easier to steal an ATM card than it is to steal your fingerprint.

s says:

Re: Can't rotate the password...

a piece of hardware? how is that more secure than using two biometric security methods? if someone can get my finger print and lets say iris pattern or dental pattern…they can probably get my piece of hardware.

and the reality is that everything can be hacked w/ time and money. the key is slowing them down enough to detect the hack or complicating it enough to create more room for error.

Matt says:

gummy bear

i was in an internet security class, and we had to find things that might work to bypass a fingerprint reader. all kinds of people brought int things and the one that worked most often was a gummy bear. the clear crappy tasting ones. as long as some one has used the finger print read before, it would pickup the residual fingerprint and unlock the computer.

Digitarius (user link) says:


I’m a type I juvenile diabetic, and Fingerprints are something I’ve always wondered about. As part of my disease I test my blood sugar regularly, which involves lancing my fingertips. At a minimum of three times a day. You can tell it, too! On a particularly bad day, they can get to look like raw hamburger if one isn’t careful.
So, my question is: Do all this pricks and microscabs on there alter my fingerprints? POssibly in ways that would make a run-of-the-mill system reject my own finger?

Donald Duck says:

Finger Print Scanner SUCKS

Youtube has it they did every thing yall thought up and it works. youtube com/watch?v=oXyFmieZjiE techdirt doesn’t want you to post urls in here I guess.

Besides mission impossible movies would have a ‘fake skin’ with the finger prints on it. I’m sure we have the tech to do that for real.

If you was really insidious you can grow real skin in the lab on a mold of the persons finger print your trying to fake. Perhaps spray it with some sort of preservative for the time when you need to slip it on.

James says:

Are you stupid?

Everyone who has previously placed a comment appears to be dumb. You are all considering using the silly putty as a mould . Wow, internet reading has just become a hell of a lot more hilarious. Anyone think to use some sort of powder such as flour… dust it onto the scanner, lightly of course. Place sellotape over that. Then put silly putty on top that so it does not read your fingerprint apply pressure then voila 🙂 Hope you all realized how dumb you all were.

jo says:

@ James, no actually your comment is dumb. If you did the that the fingerprint scanner would deny your prints as not of good quality. After 5x of that then the state does a name search. ANd iM SURE THAT IS WHAT THESE PEOPLE ARE TRYING TO AVOID! You want the scanner to think your prints are ok and to pass you through without cross referencing your name.

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