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.”