A German politician’s fingerprints have been cloned by hackers from photos taken with a camera phone.
Jan Krissler, a member of the 31-year-old hacker network the Chaos Computer Club (CCC), claims that he has cloned a thumbprint of German defence minister Ursula von den Leyen using rudimentary software and a batch of photos.
Speaking at a conference for the CCC, Krissler told audience members he had obtained close up photos of the politician's thumbs and fingers and had used other pictures at different angles during press events to build up a replica.
With fingerprint identification being a key feature of new Apple and Samsung devices and also being tested out in large events – such as the Brazilian presidential elections – biometrics are a potentially risky new form of tech.
Krissler added that “politicians will presumably wear gloves when talking in public” following his revelations to avoid having their fingerprints compromised.
"Biometrics that rely on static information like face recognition or fingerprints - it's not trivial to forge them but most people have accepted that they are not a great form of security because they can be faked," cybersecurity expert Prof Alan Woodward told the BBC.
"People are starting to look for things where the biometric is alive - vein recognition in fingers, gait [body motion] analysis - they are also biometrics but they are chosen because the person has to be in possession of them and exhibiting them in real life."
Barclays bank has recently introduced vein recognition for business customers, and the technique is also being tested in Japan and Poland.