"Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available. Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture."According to the researchers, photos taken under the right conditions from up to three metres away from exposed fingers have had fingerprint data successfully extracted from them.
"Ultimately, it's not that easy. If you look at 100 pictures of people staring into a megapixel camera flashing the piece sign, probably less than 30 percent have the right type of lighting. Secondly, if you have a picture that works, there's a real craft to being able to take that, size it, bring it into another application and print it out in the right scale with the right form and then transfer that to a mold to then make an impression."All the same, it's probably worth remembering that, from the security point of view, fingerprints are not the same as passwords in some important ways. For instance, you can change your password anytime you like, but good luck changing your fingerprints if they are ever stolen. Furthermore, we make a point of reminding users to be careful with their passwords and use unique combinations for different purposes. It goes without saying that by their very nature you leave your fingerprints lying around everywhere you go, and you're limited to a maximum of ten. And as technology becomes ever more sophisticated, there is a good chance that biometrics will become an ever-more-present part of our daily lives. You may be unconcerned about your fingerprints being "stolen" today because you question how they could be exploited, but can you feel so confident that those stolen fingerprints might not be exploited against you in 30, 40 or 50 years time? That was one of my concerns when I heard that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack in 2015 didn't just steal the personal details of some 21.5 million current and former US government employees but also 5.6 million fingerprint records. Without wishing to sound alarmist, maybe it does make sense to think twice before flashing the peace sign in photographs after all....