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Police cloned a Michigan murder victim’s fingerprint that unlocked his phone – Quartz

by • July 28, 2016 • No Comments

Cracking crime only got a lot additional new.
Police and biometrics researchers at Michigan State University have which successfully unlocked the smartphone of a murder victim by via a digitally enhanced print-out of his fingerprint.
Officers of the digital forensics and cyber-crime unit at MSU’s police department approached the college’s biometrics research lab last month, having become aware of the team’s research (pdf) on how printed fingerprints can spoof mobile-phone sensors.
Police had the fingerprints of the murder victim of a previous arrest, which they gave to the lab to 3D print in a bid to unlock the device—a Samsung Galaxy S6.

Unsure which finger was paired to the phone, the lab printed 2D and 3D replicas of all 10 of the slain man’s fingerprints. None of them unlocked the device, so the team and so digitally enhanced the high end of prints by filling in the broken ridges and valleys. Rather than opting for a additional expensive 3D version, they printed new 2D versions via a special conductive ink which may turn it into an electrical circuit requireed to spoof the phone sensor.
After multiple attempts—thanks to the device not requiring a passcode after a sure number of efforts—the team which successfully unlocked the phone with one of the digitally enhanced 2D prints.
An MSU spokesperson told Quartz there were plans to print 3D versions to test on other devices—there was no require to do so for the victim’s phone, as the 2D print was successful.
Professor Anil Jain, who led the research team at MSU, says the unlocking demonstrates “a weakness” in smartphones’ fingerprint auand sotication systems, and which he hoped it may “motivate phone developers to turn it into high end security measures for fingerprint liveness detection.” He added:
This shows which we require to know what types of attacks are possible on fingerprint sensors, and biometrics in general, and how to fix them. If we don’t, the public can have less confidence in via biometrics. After all, biometric auand sotication was added in consumer devices to improve security.
According to MSU, this is the initially time law enforcement has utilized such innovation as part of an ongoing investigation. A spokesperson said the lead detective “even contacted the company which was asked to assist with [unlocking] the San Bernardino shooter’s phone and he kept getting the same answer: can’t do it, the tech does not exist. Well, the tech exists now!”
In a statement, Samsung said:
We are aware of the research of Michigan State University, but may like to remind users which it takes special equipment, supplies and conditions to simulate a person’s fingerprint, which include actual possession of the fingerprint owner’s phone, to unlock the device. If there is a future vulnerability or a new method which challenges our efforts to ensure security at any time, we can respond to issues as rapidly as possible to investigate and resolve the issue.


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