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10 Ways Hackers Are Stealing Your Fingerprints From Your Smartphone Screen

With technological advancement, comes advanced threats.

People across the globe were relieved when the feature of unlocking the phone with fingerprint came into the picture. No more cheezy passwords to remember, no more numbers to make the password strong. I mean, what could be safer than your own finger, right?

But as the technology progressed, so did the loopholes. It won’t be an exaggeration to say that even your fingerprint is not secure anymore. Just like your password can be cracked, your fingerprint too can be stolen. Here are ten reasons why your fingerprint isn’t secure enough for the safety of your smartphone-

1. Fraudulent third-party apps

First of all, with hundreds of apps being launched in the market every day, it becomes a herculean task to choose the one that is authentic. And now, you should not even consider such apps that demand your fingerprint. The reason being, hackers craft specific apps to look like the lock screen of your phone.

And when you unlock the phone, you are technically giving a go-ahead of a financial transaction. This way you end up handing over your fingerprints on a serving plate to the hackers which they can easily misuse and rip you off your financial security.

2. A flaw in fingerprint data storage

Most of the smartphones store your fingerprint in the form of a bitmap file. It means that it is stored in a form which is scattered. However, it can as easily be assembled back in the form of an image. The image is then printed out and used to unlock and access the data on the device.

3. It’s possible to pre-load fingerprint and hide it from the primary user

The hackers have successfully found yet another loophole which poses threat to a smartphone user. According to them, it is possible to pre-load fingerprint data into your phone and then prevent you from seeing that additional fingerprint that has been added.

Once it is done, the hackers can very easily unlock your phone using other fingerprints they have stealthily registered in your phone.

4. Using photos to create fingerprints

Hackers now have the expertise to create a 3D mold of your fingerprint out of photos. Amazingly, they don’t even need your fingers to get an impression in the mold. It can be done by extracting your fingerprint out of an image and incorporating it into the mold.

The hacker can wear it and use it to even access your financial information if you have fingerprint unlock on your banking applications.

5. Direct access to the fingerprint scanner

Usually, the fingerprint data on any smartphones works under a TrustZone. This zone basically masks the sensitive information and talks to the outer world only with help of in-between.

But, there are other apps too which demand to know when the fingerprint scanner is accessed. This allows these apps to have a direct access to the scanning mechanism and the hackers access the same platform to obtain your fingerprints.

6. Replicating fingerprint is very easy

The hackers have developed the proficiency to achieve the exact match of the fingerprints with the help of basic tools. It usually includes a standard printer along with a few other items that can easily be bought online.

And within a matter of minutes, the fingerprint can be replicated on a piece of paper. The fingerprints are used to access devices locked with biometrics.

7. Copies of a fingerprint can be stolen and cloned

Just like passwords that can be cracked using algorithms and codes, copies of fingerprints too can be easily cloned. A fingerprint can even be stored in the form of files, encrypted forms, and high-resolution images.

All of these can anytime be used to access any personal information without requiring your actual consent.

8. Social media posts can be the culprit

No one would have ever thought that someone can even extract your fingerprint from the image that you posted online. However, it is possible now.

Hackers have cracked the complex procedure to obtain the finest lines of fingerprints from high-resolution images that you post on your Facebook account. It’s as easy as posting a comment for them.

9. Lifetime vulnerability

The biggest threat that comes along with fingerprint hacking is that you can’t change your fingerprint as easily as you change your password. This means, you will be vulnerable throughout your life and anything anytime can happen to your personal data.

Therefore, it could also impose prospective financial threat if you have enrolled fingerprint safety for banking apps on your phone.

10. You can’t change your fingerprint

You can try to change the password for fingerprint by switching your fingers. But even then, after ten fingers you would run out of options. Moreover, unless you go for a surgery or mutilation, there is no way that your fingerprints can alter. And if you ask, this is something way scarier than your password getting compromised.

In conclusion:

Every day hackers come up with innovative ways to steal information and it’s up to you whether you are going to make it easy for them or not. You should frequently update your phone and avoid rooting your device which allows you to install third-party applications. 
Additionally, just take some basic precautions like- not opening a WhatsApp forward message that requires your fingerprint, staying away from third-party apps that require unnecessary information and practice sensible internet surfing for a safer run in the world full of cyberpunks.
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