Crime

Criminals are getting ready to steal your fingerprints from cash machines

By Oliver Smith 30 September 2016
Minority Report with Tom Cruise (Photo: Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation).
Summary

You can't change these passwords.

Your fingerprint, voice-print and iris scan are about to unlock a new wave of biometric security in banking but, before you get excited, criminals are already planning to steal all of them.

Banks are already exploring biometrics, like fingerprints, as a more secure replacement for chip and PIN on bank cards.

But skimming – placing fake ATMs or devices on top of real ATMs to copy the data on the bank cards of unwitting victims – is already getting a high-tech upgrade in preparation.

According to Kaspersky Lab a dozen criminals online are already selling devices capable of copying this biometric data, and are researching ways of fooling facial recognition systems by using photos shared on social media.

If successful, this kind of theft could have huge implications.

HSBC Cashpoint. High street banks may become a things of the past as payment techology revolutionises the way we carry out transactions and banking.

A biometric blunder

Biometrics aren’t just going to be used in banking, they’re already being used in e-passports and some visas.

In the future your fingerprint, voice-print, iris scan and face might be the four most important passwords you own.

And they’re passwords you can never change.

“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,” said Olga Kochetova, security expert at Kaspersky Lab.

If criminals can swipe this information from your bank card, it’s likely that the wider adoption of biometrics may never come. It’ll be impossible to secure your home, car or identity with your fingerprint once it’s known to the world.

That’s why, if we’re really going to use these biometrics for security, it’s of the utmost importance that they remain secure.