Biometric solutions are not safe anymore


Our Human Resource manager happens to be a tech guru. The other day our employer introduced a biometric signage system where all employees are supposed to sign in and out. So, the HR thinks that his position has been jeopardized since the machine covers most of his work. Yesterday the guy used his IT skills to corrupt the machine – now it confuses people’s names, dates and time. His move forced the boss to do away with the thing…FYI, he doesn’t read my articles – I think I am safe for now.

Well, experts claim that cybercriminals can exploit biometric-based solutions and ATM authentication technologies.

According to a research conducted by security experts, there are already at least twelve sellers offering skimmers capable of stealing victims’ fingerprints. And at least three underground sellers are already researching devices that could illegally obtain data from palm vein and iris recognition systems.

The first wave of biometric skimmers was observed in “presale testing” in September 2015. Evidence collected by Kaspersky Lab researchers reveals thatduring the initial testing, developers discovered several bugs. However, the main problem was the use of GSM modules for biometric data transfer – they were too slow to transfer the large volume of data obtained. As a result, new versions of skimmers will use other, faster data transfer technologies.

There are also signs of ongoing discussions in underground communities regarding the development of mobile applications based on placing masks over a human face. With such an app, attackers can take a person’s photo posted on social media and use it to fool a facial recognition system.

”The problem with biometrics is that, unlike passwords or pin codes which can be easily modified in the event of compromise, it is impossible to change your fingerprint or iris image. Thus if your data is compromised once, it won’t be safe to use that authentication method again. That is why it is extremely important to keep such data secure and transmit it in a secure way. Biometric data is also recorded in modern passports – called e-passports – and visas. So, if an attacker steals an e-passport, they don’t just possess the document, but also that person’s biometric data. They have stolen a person’s identity,” said Olga Kochetova, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

The use of tools capable of compromising biometric data is not the only potential cyberthreat facing ATMs, according to the researchers. Hackers will continue to conduct malware-based attacks, blackbox attacks and network attacks to seize data that can later be used to steal money from banks and its customers.