If you're really, really worried about securing your digital world, you might need to start wearing gloves. A member of a German hacker collective says that he's been able to copy a person's fingerprint using some photos of them taken with a normal, consumer camera, according to the BBC. The hacker, Jan Krissler of the Chaos Computer Club, says that he was able to copy German defense minister Ursula von der Leyen's fingerprint using a close-up photo of her thumb and several other photos from additional angles, all taken during a public event she was speaking at.
From the hacking group that fooled Touch ID after two days
It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that fingerprints aren't the most secure form of identification out there. In fact, the Chaos Computer Club — which claims to be the largest hacker collective in Europe — actually began publishing work toward exploiting Apple's Touch ID sensor just days after the first one went on sale in an iPhone 5S last year. Similarly, the group said then that using "everyday means" they were able to recreate a fingerprint that's capable of fooling a sensor.
There's obviously more reason for concern now if, as Krissler says, a knowledgable hacker just needs a good photo of someone's finger to clone their fingerprint. But typically, that's still not going to be enough to break into someone's accounts. In most cases, this is only going to be relevant on an iPhone, and that means the person forging a fingerprint would also need to have possession of the phone set up to read it. That means a fingerprint is probably going to end up securing a phone from someone who isn't supposed to have it far more often than it'll let some crafty hacker gain access.