While fingerprint door locks are more secure than traditional locks, smart locks can be hacked. In this article, I explain the most common ways for fingerprint scanners to be bypassed.
In the last few years, the number of devices that support biometrics scanners and the technology around them has improved considerably. So hackers are also trying to keep up with the cutting-edge technology and finding new ways to tamper/penetrate them.
In this blog, I review some of the methods hackers could use to bypass your fingerprint scanners.
1) MasterPrints can Brake Fingerprint Security
Fingerprint identification systems are a popular, global technology that is used on billions of devices all around the world. A study done by Michigan State University and New York University revealed an unexpected level of vulnerability in fingerprint recognition systems.
The study team created a fake fingerprint that may fool up to one in five touch-based authentication systems by employing a neural network trained to generate human fingerprints. These “DeepMasterPrints” are artificial intelligence-based master keys that match many fingerprints kept in fingerprint databases and, like a master key, could potentially unlock a large number of devices.
Fingerprint sensors only go off partial prints, not entire snapshots of the finger, allowing for these types of hacking. Partial prints are simpler to break than whole ones because there are more “pieces” that might be used to fool the sensor.
In other words, a MasterPrint for a fingerprint scanner lock works the same as a master key for standard locks. These are unique fingerprints that include all of the usual characteristics on everyone’s fingertips.
Hackers can exploit MasterPrints to gain access to devices utilizing suboptimal scanning technologies. While a good scanner will identify and reject a MasterPrint, a smartphone’s less-powerful scanner may not be as thorough in its verification.
As a result, a MasterPrint is a good method for a hacker to get into devices that have small fingerprint sensors with low resolution. The resolution of the fingerprint sensor is very important because it will effectively capture additional fingerprint features. If the sensor is tiny and the resolution is low, the uniqueness of a user’s fingerprint may be jeopardized.
How to Decrease the Risk of a MasterPrint Attack
The best defense against a MasterPrint attack is to buy a device that uses a high-resolution fingerprint scanner. This could mean buying a higher-end smart lock but it will significantly increase your protection from hackers.
Before you put your faith in a fingerprint scanner, do some research on it. The False Acceptance Rate (FAR) is the best way to measure this. The lower the FAR percentage is, the better your scanner will be at rejecting a MasterPrint.
The technology around fingerprint scanners has improved considerably in the last couple of years. Today, the best fingerprint door locks in the market have low FAR percentages, making them very safe.
2) Taking Advantage of Software Vulnerabilities to Evade the Scan
A fingerprint scan is sometimes used to identify a user in password managers. While this is beneficial for keeping your passwords secure, the effectiveness of the technology depends on how safe the password manager software is. Hackers can use it to get around a fingerprint scan if the program’s security against assaults is poor.
When it comes to smart locks, password hacking is the most simple technique to crack them. This typically happens if your smartphone is stolen and gets into the hands of a hacker. They may jail-break into your cloud files after gaining access to your device. If you’ve linked your smartphone to your smart lock, it might contain information about your passcode, fingerprint, or voice recognition.
How to Prevent Hackers From Evading the Scan
The fingerprint scan in your smart lock is only as good as the software it’s protecting. This means that it’s essential to choose a reputable and reliable fingerprint door lock.
In addition, be sure to keep your software up-to-date. Password managers often release updates to their software to patch holes that hackers have exploited in the past. Keep an eye out for these updates and install them as soon as possible.
Consider purchasing reputable and highly rated products to avoid this kind of attack. Also, remember that your smartphone is also connected to your smart lock via the app so it’s important to keep it updated and password-protected as well. Make sure you keep your smart lock’s app code secure as well.
3) Hacking the Database
Fingerprint scanners use a database to store the fingerprint information of authorized users. Your fingerprint data is used to unlock the device when you present your fingerprint at the sensor.
The problem with this system is that fingerprint information can be stolen if the database is hacked. A hacker could obtain a copy of the fingerprint database and use it to create fake fingers that can unlock the device.
How to Prevent Hackers From Hacking the Database
The best way to protect your fingerprint information is to choose a smart lock that doesn’t store your fingerprint data on a central server. Instead, look for a product that stores the data locally on the smart lock itself.
If your fingerprint data must be stored on a central server, make sure it’s encrypted. The best encryption method today is AES 256-bit encryption. This will make it much harder for hackers to access your fingerprint information even if they do manage to hack into the database.
4) Forging Fingerprints to Break Into a System
If a hacker faked a German minister’s fingerprints using photos of her hands over seven years ago, imagine what hackers can do today. While fingerprint scan technology has considerably improved in the last few years, it is also a fact that hackers keep up today and find new ways to crack the system.
Forging fingerprints to break into a system (e.i. smart lock) involves getting a hold of the target’s fingerprints and recreating them to bypass the scanner. While this approach is unlikely to be used by hackers against members of the general public, it’s worth noting if you’re in a governing or a managerial capacity.
A stolen fingerprint may be transformed into a physical duplicate in a variety of ways. Hackers can use Play-Doh, gum, jelly, or gelatin to take an impression of the fingerprint. They can also create a detailed replica of your fingerprint using just a high-resolution photo of the fingerprint and a 3D printer.
Once they have a copy of the fingerprint, it can be used to unlock the target’s device or to access personal information.
How to Avoid Having Your Fingerprints Forged
The key to defeating this attack is to stop the fingerprint acquisition in the first place. So make sure you only share your fingerprint information with reputable devices and services.
Some less secure smart locks do not encrypt fingerprint images which can facilitate hackers to connect your name with your fingerprint in a data breach. If possible, avoid using such fingerprint authentication systems.
5) Harvesting Unsecured Images From the Scanner
It’s unlikely that a hacker will go through everything you touch to obtain your prints. They usually focus on your devices or scanners in the hopes of finding your raw fingerprint data.
Hackers know your scanner’s fingerprint image is the key to your scanners. They like the inflexibility of a fingerprint. It is feasible to change a password, but a fingerprint is unchangeable. So hackers will make numerous attempts to access your fingerprint scanners.
For a smart lock scanner to identify you, it compares the image of your fingerprint which you provided and saved on its memory during setup, to the physical fingerprint you provide every day.
Unfortunately, some devices or scanners save fingerprint images without encrypting them. If a hacker gets hold of the storage, they can simply grab the photo and get your fingerprint data without much trouble.
How to Protect your Fingerprints from Hackers
The most important thing is to only share your fingerprint information with very secure and reputable fingerprint scanners that encrypt the image files to prevent you from getting your biometrics stolen.
If you realize that your smart lock’s fingerprint scanner is not storing the fingerprint pictures correctly, stop using it right away. Consider deleting the picture file from their data storage, if possible, so that cybercriminals can’t steal it for themselves.
6) Using Fingerprints Remnants Left Behind
When you touch something, including a scanner, you leave behind fingerprint residue that contains oils and sweat. This fingerprint information can be lifted from a variety of surfaces and used to create a copy of your fingerprint.
Hackers do not always need to use sophisticated methods to acquire your fingerprints. They sometimes take advantage of the remains left on your smart lock, from a previous fingerprint scan to circumvent protection systems.
They know fingerprints found on a scanner are almost guaranteed to be the same print that unlocks it. So they take advantage of it.
How to Avoid Leaving Fingerprints Remnants Behind
The best way to avoid this fingerprint hack is to clean the surface of fingerprint scanners in your smart lock with a cloth or alcohol swab regularly. This will help to remove any fingerprint remnants that may be left behind and used by hackers.
You should also try to avoid touching the fingerprint scanner with your fingers as much as possible. It is a good practice to keep your smart lock clean and free of fingerprint marks.
7) Hacking the Old Fashion Way
The first thing that comes to our mind is digital hacking when thinking about smart locks but we can not leave aside the fact that these locks can also be physically tampered with.
Smart locks can be broken into using several different methods that do not require high tech, like picking the lock, copying the backup physical key, or simply using a brute-force.
Most smart locks also have a backup physical key for unlocking during an emergency. So at the end of the day, they can be opened the old fashion way as well. All a burglar needs is a few simple tools, like a pick gun or torque wrench, and they can quickly bypass the fingerprint sensor.
While smart locks offer an extra layer of security compared to a standard lock, do not put your guard down and add other safety measures around your home.
How to Decrease the Chance of Smart Locks Being Forced
Many smart locks have been tampered with before. Do not assume yours will be the exception. It is important to always stay one step ahead to avoid any hacking or physical tampering with your smart locks.
Adding a sensor light to each entrance door in your house will deter burglars from trying to break in as it will immediately alert you and your neighbors of any suspicious activity.
Always keep your entrance visible and clear from trees and bushes to avoid giving burglars a place to hide. Be sure to trim any overgrown areas around your home.
Consider adding video camera surveillance close to the entry doors to your home. It is proven to decrease the chances of delinquents to try forcing your lock and/or door. This will also give you a clear view of any potential burglar and allow you to take appropriate action.
You should also consider adding a security system to your home as an extra measure of protection. A security system will notify you and the authorities immediately if someone tries to break into your house, even if they manage to bypass your smart lock.
What is a Fingerprint Door Lock?
Fingerprint door locks are a type of smart lock that uses fingerprint recognition to grant access. They work by taking an image of a fingerprint and comparing it to a database of approved fingerprints to unlock. They are becoming increasingly popular as they offer a higher level of security than traditional locks.
Are fingerprint locks secure?
Fingerprint door locks are becoming increasingly popular, but there is still some debate about their security. They are much more difficult to bypass than traditional but they can be hacked.
There is always the possibility that someone could gain access to your fingerprint which will allow them to unlock your door. So, it is important to choose a reputable and secure fingerprint scanner to avoid your fingerprint data from being stolen. Resist the temptation of buying a cheap smart lock.
Can RFID locks be hacked?
The security of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) locks has come under scrutiny in recent years, as concerns have been raised about their potential to be hacked. These smart locks work by wirelessly communicating with a tag that is implanted in a key fob or another device. When the tag and smart lock are within range, the lock will automatically unlock.
This convenience comes at a price, however, as a hacker can gain access to the smart lock by intercepting the signal from the tag. Additionally, some research has shown that it is possible to clone the signal from an authorized tag, allowing unauthorized access to the locked area.
While RFID locks offer a high degree of convenience, their potential vulnerability to hacking means that care must be taken to ensure that they are properly secured.
How Safe are Keyless Door Locks?
As long as you take the proper precautions, keyless door locks can be a safe and convenient way to protect your property. They have become increasingly popular among businesses and homeowners who are looking for a more convenient and secure way to protect their property.
However, some potential safety concerns come with these types of locks. For one thing, if the smart lock is not properly installed, it could be easy for an intruder to bypass. In addition, keyless locks rely on batteries, which can die at inopportune times. If you find yourself locked out of your home or business due to a dead battery, it can be difficult to get back in.
Which is the Best Fingerprint Door Lock?
These are three of the best fingerprint door locks on the market:
- Samsung SMART Push-Pull Handle Digital Door Lock: It is the most secure biometric door lock
- Eufy Smart Lock Touch & Wi-Fi: It is the best user privacy fingerprint door lock
- Kucacci Fingerprint Smart Lock for Front Door: It is the best budget-friendly smart lock
This is my personal opinion based on customer reviews and my research. Keep in mind that the best smart door locks are the ones that fit your needs the best.
There is no such thing as a “one size fits all” when it comes to security, so make sure to choose a lock that will protect you and your property in the way that you need it to.
How do you put fingerprints on a door lock?
The process of adding your fingerprint to a smart lock is somehow simple, although each manufacturer has its requirements. To correctly register fingerprints, follow the manufacturing instructions carefully.
While fingerprint smart locks can offer a high level of security, they are not foolproof. There have been several instances where smart locks have been successfully hacked.
Follow these tips to minimize the risk of being hacked:
- Choose a reputable brand: Not all smart locks are created equal. Some are more vulnerable to hacking than others. Do your research and choose a brand that has a good reputation for security.
- Keep your software up to date: All software has vulnerabilities, and smart locks are no different. Keep your software up to date to help reduce the risk of being hacked.
- Change your password regularly: Just like with any other online account, you should change your password regularly. This will help to keep your fingerprint lock safe from hackers.
But never forget that every lock’s strength is limited by the material it slides into, the length of the deadbolt, and the construction quality. So never overestimate the safety of smart locks.
A smart door lock does not offer enough protection to keep your home and your family safe, mainly in areas more prone to break and enter. Having a secure smart lock is just one piece of the puzzle.