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You only need a camera (and luck) to copy someone's fingerprints

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Forget having to lift smudges from a touchscreen to copy someone's fingerprints. According to a Chaos Computer Club presentation, you only need a camera... well, that and a little luck. The hacking association's Jan Krissler recently demonstrated that you can reproduce someone's fingerprint by getting a few good photos of their hand and processing it through off-the-shelf authentication software like VeriFinger. In Kessler's case, he got the German Defense Minister's thumbprint through photos from a press conference.

As you might already suspect, this isn't a surefire way of grabbing prints. It only works so long as you have access to high-quality snapshots of someone's digits. That's relatively easy with hand-waving celebrities and politicians, but it's far from guaranteed that someone will snap photos of your fingers while you're crossing the street. And of course, data thieves would still need to get your devices or otherwise find a way to sign in using your biometric info. The practical danger is low -- the concern is more that a determined intruder doesn't have to work quite so hard to get your secrets.

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