Potential Security Threat! A Cracked Fingerprint Sensor On A Phone In China Could Be Unlocked By Anyone

by Jed John 0

Fingerprint security may not be the safest form of security available but its adoption on smartphones are getting wider usage. Apart from locking the smartphone in order to avoid unwarranted access to owner’s privacy, fingerprint technology is now being deployed in online payment and other aspects. Even though phone manufacturers are quick to always warn that it is not very safe, it is not surprising to find that some phone users still make use of it. However, a shocking discovery has emerged that a broken fingerprint sensor can be unlocked by just anybody’s fingers apart from the stored fingerprint.Fingerprint unlock technology

A video uploaded on China’s video sharing and live streaming platform Miaopai seems to chronicle the demonstration of the effect a crack on the fingerprint has on the integrity of the smartphone’s fingerprint technology.  The video was created by a dude named Xiao Xu and even though he spoke in Chinese we have been able to transcribe what he said and you can watch the video from below. He claimed his mobile phone accidentally fell down and the screen got cracked around the front-facing fingerprint sensor area. Thereafter, he tried using the fingerprint unlock feature and found out it still worked fine and even could make fingerprint payment on AliPay using the sensor. Another day, a classmate wanted to check out his phone which he left idle and surprisingly, the friend’s fingerprint unlocked the phone. Further probing revealed that everyone else could unlock the smartphone with their fingerprint and not only that, fingerprint payment was possible.

This is coming on the heels of a recent unconfirmed assertion that an orange peel can be used to override the fingerprint sensor and unlock a smartphone. The orange peel, it is claimed, can be used to effect fingerprint payment on the smartphone. We don’t know how true these claims are but in an era where fingerprint technology is almost finding a place on all classes of smartphones, these are grave causes for concern. For now, no official confirmation has been issued by China’s Ministry of Industry and Information (TENAA) which is responsible for certification and quality assurance of smartphones manufactured in China.

Read More: JDI Develops Transparent Glass-Based Fingerprint Sensor, Ships This Year

Perhaps, your smartphone has got a cracked sensor? Then you can try this out to see if an unauthorized fingerprint can unlock your mobile. If not, we’ll have to wait for a response from the relevant authorities and hope that comes out quickly, considering the potential security risk this could pose to millions of smartphone users around the world who already use fingerprint payment with their mobile. It’s crazy to even imagine that a thief can steal someone’s phone and simply crack the screen then get access to the victim’s funds and other sensitive details. Just crazy! These are even several other reports of hacked fingerprint sensors using various methods. With these negative reports, do you think fingerprint technology could last the next 10 years on smartphones? Let us know your thought in the comment section.


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