Australia, fingerprint, survey, template


Theft of fingerprints easier than cutting off a finger, security experts warn (

Associate Professor of math and geospatial sciences at RMIT University, Dr Asha Rao told News Ltd that a cyber criminal wouldn’t need your finger or retina in order to steal the stored data.

”When you watch political or forensic dramas, they show you the fingerprint but that’s not really what is stored as it would take too much time to cross reference,” Dr Rao said.

”To complete the biometric scans you don’t need my finger, you need the hash of the biodata.”

A hash is like an algorithm or template that can be used to decode your data. ”If you steal the template, then you’ve basically lost your fingerprint,” she said.

”It’s actually easier to break than cutting off people’s fingers.”

Oh, yeah?

Step one.Have the experts in question turn this into a fingerprint. Yes, it is a real fingerprint template; no hacking required.


Step two.Have the experts in question cut off someone’s finger.

Step three.Have them explain which task they’d rather repeat.

“You want a toe?”

[I’ll bet both tasks are much more difficult either from a technical or humane point of view than stealing and using a password. I assume that’s why they are hackers instead of, well, you know – “hackers.” And while, at least according to Walter Sobchak, “I can get you a toe,” fingers are a little harder to come by. After all, people are going to need them to get at their cash.]

Bonus:Explain why any of this should cause any of the reported 79 per cent of Australians who would be comfortable using fingerprint biometrics to verify identity to change their mind (background here & here).

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