Experts revealed that flashing the “peace” hand sign in photos can lead to fingerprint data theft

Experts revealed that flashing the “peace” hand sign in photos can lead to fingerprint data theft

Do you love taking selfies while flashing the “peace” hand sign? It’s now time to stop or change this kind of habit as it can lead to identity and fingerprint theft!

With the fingerprint recognition technology to verify identities becoming easily accessible to the public, either through smartphones, laptops and tablets, it’s easier now for thieves and so called identity hackers to steal a person’s personal data.

According to Japanese researchers, copying someone’s fingerprint data through photographs shared on social media sites is highly possible. This puts people flashing the peace sign on their photos at high risk. Someone with the right knowledge and tool can copy their fingerprint and use it for unlawful acts and purposes.

Peace Hand Sign

In a recent study done by a team at Japan’s National Institute of Informatics (NII), they found out that copying someone’s fingerprint from a photograph is truly possible. They were able to copy fingerprints based on photos taken by a digital camera that is nine feet away from the subject.

“Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available,” NII researcher Isao Echizen said in one interview.

“Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture,” Echizen added.

With the advancement of smartphone cameras nowadays, there’s no need for highly sophisticated tool and technology to copy someone’s fingerprints from their photos.

“If a fingerprint is stolen, if they’re able to copy that fingerprint, fake ones can be produced. One can use it to assume another’s identity, such as accessing a smartphone or breaking and entering into a restricted area such as an apartment.” Echizen said in another interview.

Although it’s technically possible, other group of experts says that there’s no need to panic. If flashing a peace sign is your go-to moves in selfies and group photos, just flip your hand around and you are good to go. You can also get the technology developed by the NII researchers themselves to hide your fingerprints at your photos.

NII says it has developed a transparent film containing titanium oxide that can be attached to fingers to hide their prints. The said transparent film can effectively prevent fingerprint identity theft but does not interfere with fingerprints being effective in other personal use.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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