When Apple announced the Touch ID feature for iPhone 5s, users worldwide thought this was the answer to smartphone security. This technology was meant to replace PIN codes.
Today, almost every smartphone has a fingerprint scanner that works alongside PIN codes to provide extra security for your devices. However, hackers have managed to find a workaround to fingerprinting.
Therefore, before you switch to fingerprint lock, let’s check out how this technology works. If you already have a phone with a fingerprint lock and are simply doing research for your assignment on the topic at hand, you will find this article particularly useful. You should also consider using the help of a professional paper writer service to do your assignments for you.
Let’s dive in.
How Fingerprint Lock Works
First of all, the consensus within the scientific community is that no two individuals have the same fingerprint pattern – not even identical twins. This means that any hacker can only access your phone by obtaining a scan of your finger.
So How Do Fingerprint Scanners Work?
When you place your finger on that ‘pad’ on the phone for the first time, the CCD (charge-coupled device) camera captures an image of the finger. This camera now saves the pattern on the phone’s database and compares it to other incoming fingerprints anytime you try to unlock the phone.
But How Does It Work Without Proper Lighting?
CCD systems contain built-in light-emitting diodes that show contrasts between bright and dark areas on the finger.
Think of it as the standard fingerprinting approach used by the police or customs. You put your finger on a device and watch the green light pass beneath your finger. That black-and-white pattern is the same thing your phone captures.
Other advanced fingerprint scanners include capacitive scanners and ultrasonic scanners.
How Does Fingerprint Hacking Take Place?
- Hackers can access your physical fingerprint from other devices. They can also obtain your fingerprint from pictures and videos. But this technique is pretty old-school because it requires meeting the phone’s owner.
- Smartphones only record partial prints, which decreases the uniqueness factor to around 1 to 50 000.
- Government fingerprint databases could be compromised, and the millions of fingerprints in these databases will give hackers a lot to work with.
Benefits of Fingerprint Lock
Despite the worries about fingerprint locks, they offer many advantages over PIN codes and face-ID. This explains why most smartphone users rely on this technology to secure their phones.
Let’s check out the benefits of using fingerprint lock:
1. Faster Access
When you are in a hurry to unlock your phone, fingerprint locks are the best option. All you need is to place your thumb on the scanner, and the device opens. Because if you are in haste, drawing your PIN code pattern might become difficult. So, fingerprint locks help you to prevent unwanted lockouts.
2. Better Security
PIN codes are less effective because a hacker can guess your digits. Besides, someone looking over your soldier can easily memorize your passcode. However, fingerprints are unique and can’t be copied.
You can use the same fingerprint across multiple devices because it doesn’t change. But if you use the same code across all platforms, your online identity and overall safety are under threat.
If you live in a country like the United States, government officials have no right to break into your phone using fingerprint data.
Dangers of Fingerprint Lock
Hackers can flip the benefits of fingerprinting to potential flaws. Apart from that, government legislation could put your fingerprint lock under threat. Here are the dangers of using a fingerprint lock to secure your devices.
1. Court Orders
In some countries, courts can mandate defendants to open their devices using fingerprint locks. And if they fail to oblige, security officials can unlock the phone with a fingerprint from the master database. Even in the United States, courts have the right to demand that phones be unlocked. But this legislation doesn’t extend to PIN codes.
The main problem with fingerprints is that they are unchangeable. Once a hacker gains access to your fingerprint, they can control your life until they get caught. Just imagine the amount of damage they could cause within this period. On the flip side, you can change your PIN code when it is compromised.
3. Software Vulnerabilities
Even though the fingerprinting system on most phones is foolproof, the software can provide a backdoor to your phone. One example is the Lenovo security bug that exposed user data. Besides, hackers can trick you into installing software that requires fingerprint authentication; and they can get your fingerprint from there.
4. Easily Accessible
If a hacker wants to target a specific individual, they can get their fingerprint from many places. Coffee cups, window panes, metallic surfaces are all goldmines for fingerprint harvesting. More determined hackers can also extract your fingerprint from high-res images.
Fingerprint locks are excellent ways to secure your smartphones and devices because they are unique for everybody. They are also safe from guesswork and forgetfulness. However, highly-skilled hackers can crack your fingerprint through software vulnerabilities. Besides, your data can be compromised forever once your fingerprint security is breached. So, keep your credentials safe!