What is a fingerprint is compromised
Posted Nov 23, 2007 21:34 UTC (Fri) by hingo
Parent article: Fingerprint recognition using fprint
This seems to be a good place to as this question that has always haunted me:
How are fingerprints supposed to be secure? I mean say
- My fingerprint is stored on a database
- I use fingerprint authentication to login remotely to a server
- Somebody gets hold of a copy of the database of fingerprints
- Or they just take a copy of my finger when I use it on some machine, it's not like I can use different fingerprints on each service I use (like you are supposed to do with passwords). So anywhere I'm using fingerprint for authentication, they could stash away a copy of it.
- Bad guys can now set up their own remote machine, connect to the server, and when it asks for the fingerprint, they just send the image file of my finger. They don't need me, not my finger, not even a fake finger...
- In conclusion, the only way to securely use fingerprints is when the connection from the scanner to the authentication database can be trusted to be completely non-interceptible and in addition I should trust the party asking for authentication.
I've always thought a better way to do this would be to have my own fingerprint stored on a smartcard and the fingerprint would be used instead of the PIN code to use the smartcard for normal public key encryption. The fingerprint itself would never go further than the smartcard, (for added security, the card would be its own scanner) and on the other hand if my key is compromised, it's easier to get a new card than a new finger.
So, what is the real answer here? I'm sure after 20 years of fingerprint scanning technology, somebody would have thought of this if it was a real problem.
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