Fingerprint forgery training: Easy to learn, hard to perform
Many services offer fingerprint authentication, including sensitive services such as mobile banking. This broad adoption could make an impression to the end-users that fingerprint authentication is secure. However, fingerprint authentication is vulnerable to various attacks performed even by not-very-sophisticated attackers, e.g., fingerprint forgery. Will participants perceive fingerprint authentication differently after relevant theory education and the creation of their fingerprint counterfeit to overcome misunderstandings, especially regarding security? How will they perceive the fingerprint forgery process? We prepared a hands-on seminar with fingerprint forgery simulation. We focused on the difference in perception before and after the theoretical lecture on biometrics and a practical seminar on forgery creation. We applied an uncommon approach, reconstructing the fingerprint from a photo of the actual finger rather than its print on some surface – to illustrate the case of an attack based merely on a “thumb-up” photograph. Our results show that 19% of participants (out of 221) were successful in spoofing, according to the NIST Biometric Image Software, and 27% of participants could register their counterfeit into the smartphone. Participants perceived fingerprint authentication as less secure after the simulation and reported their intention to use it less for mobile banking operations. They also perceived the forgery attack as easier to learn than before the simulation – but harder to perform. Our study implies that participants intend to change their behaviour based on their experience from our seminar, however, they did not consider two-factor authentication as an option.