Fake Fingerprints


Fingerprint scanning devices often use basic technology, such as an optical camera that take pictures of fingerprints which are then “read” by a computer. In order to assess how vulnerable the scanners are to spoofing, Schuckers and her research team made casts from live fingers using dental materials and used Play-Doh to create molds. They also assembled a collection of cadaver fingers.

In the laboratory, the researchers then systematically tested more than 60 of the faked samples. The results were a 90 percent false verification rate.

“The machines could not distinguish between a live sample and a fake one, ” Schuckers explained. “Since liveness detection is based on the recognition of physiological activities as signs of life, we hypothesized that fingerprint images from live fingers would show a specific changing moisture pattern due to perspiration but cadaver and spoof fingerprint images would not.”


Previous fingerprint stories have included “Fingerprint Privacy” and “Fingerprints at Disney: The Desensitization Imperative,” which contained a link to the classic gummy finger paper, “How to fake fingerprints.”

1 Comment on "Fake Fingerprints"

  1. Next you’re going to tell me that in Minority Report Tom Cruise couldn’t have gotten back into the office after getting fired by flashing his old eyeballs in a plastic baggie?

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