Fingerprint Recognition or Fingerprint Authentication is the automated method of verifying a match between two fingerprints of a person. Every individual has a unique fingerprint, which also acts as the verification tool for individuals to confirm their identity.
Fingerprint Scanners in Smartphones Are Not Safe As You Think, Know Why
Fingerprint scanners are becoming popular among smartphones. This feature was first introduced by Motorola in its flagship phone, Atrix in 2011. Later Apple and Samsung adopted the same in their flagship phones, iPhone 5s and Galaxy S5 respectively. Earlier the fingerprint scanners were only present in high end smartphones, now it can been seen in devices costing as low as $80.
The smartphone manufacturers adopted fingerprint scanner feature in order to boost the security of its smartphones and make it easy for the user to unlock his/her device hassle free. Despite of this, fingerprint security can’t make you fully secure in front of a law enforcement agency.
Since the fingerprint scanners came in smartphones, users started adopting fingerprint scanner over PIN code for locking their device. In iPhones, scanned fingerprints are stored, encrypted and are processed restrictedly instead of being sent to Apple for verification. Experts are concerned about the growing use of fingerprint data to unlock iPhones. The legal questions were raised that how iPhone with fingerprint lock can be treated in a court of law.
However, the question was left unanswered for about a year. Later Judge in Virginia ruled in 2014 that police can pressurize smartphone users having fingerprint scanners to unlock their device with their fingerprint.
However until this february, when a federal judge in Los Angeles signed a search warrant that demanded a women to use her fingerprint to unlock her iPhone. The iPhone belonged to 29 year women Paytsar Bkhchadzhyan, who is the girlfriend of the man accused of being a member of Armenian gang. Later judge issued warrant, permitting law officers to place her finger on the Touch ID sensor of her iPhone. However, it is not clear what prosecutors are seeking from her iPhone.
Notably, there are other ways to trick the fingerprint scanner like using tape, gelatin which is used to make Gummi Bears. It means that if someone can track you down, they could make a replica of it and use to acquire access to data on your device.
Last Month it was reported that Law enforcement agency, FBI reportedly paid over $1 million for acquiring a software which allowed them to unlock the iPhone 5c of the San Bernardino shooter. However, it is not clear whether they could use that software to unlock other devices or not.