+ Tuesday October 22nd, 2019

For all the convenience of biometric unlock mechanisms, they have one fatal flaw; they rely on physical attributes rather than something you remember, and so if someone can mimic those attributes, they can unlock your device.

Worse, if you’ve got something to hide on your phone and authorities want in, biometric unlocks are a terrible idea – you can be forcefully fingerprinted in Australia (at least), and if your face can be held still, a facial unlock is easily defeated.

If someone’s a little more motivated, though, your fingerprints can actually be forged and used to unlock your device entirely without your participation. It’s not surprising, really, but this is a rather unique way of doing it.

 

That’s exactly what one Reddit user has done, taking a photograph of a fingerprint left on glass, editing it using software to increase the contrast, and then 3D printing it in soft material.

From start to finish, the process took less than 15 minutes, and as you can see above, the user was able to get into the Samsung Galaxy S10+ in mere seconds.

If the security of your mobile device really matters to you, use a PIN code or better yet, an alphanumeric passcode. Biometrics are convenient, but way too easily circumvented.

Chris Rowland   Managing Editor

Chris Rowland

Chris has been at the forefront of smartphone reporting in Australia since smartphones were a thing, and has used mobile phones since they came with giant lead-acid batteries that were "transportable" and were carried in a shoulder bag.

Today, Chris publishes one of Australia's most popular technology websites, Ausdroid. His interests include mobile (of course), as well as connected technology and how it can make all our lives easier.

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dbareis
Ausdroid Reader

I use tasker to lock the device when attaching or detecting from a power source which then can’t be unlocked with a fingerprint. It also won’t fingerprint unlock after a reboot, and I have tasker lock shortcut on my desktop which also disables fingerprint unlock as required.

Howard
Guest
Howard

Would be easier to just not set up the fingerprint then no tasker required…

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