While we have become well familiarized with the concept that ‘there is an app for that,’ today another common statement in tech-savvy circles is ‘well, you know you could 3D print that!’ The hope is that everyone is using their powers for good. As we find out more about how Imgur user darkshark used 3D printing to beat the latest fingerprint scanner app, however, it does cause us to wonder what other rules are being broken—or what other dark ideas are currently being masterminded with the use of 3D printing.
darkshark set out to unsettle us all by showing just how easy it is to get into someone’s phone (here, the new Samsung Galaxy S10)—which can be like having direct access to their wallet and many facets of their private lives. We have to take a moment to process the fact that one can even 3D print their fingertip scan to begin with, but beyond that, let it sink it in that here, the fabricated fingertip in many cases worked better than the real thing.
The process was quite simple: scan your fingerprint, 3D print it, and see what happens. darkshark began by putting by fingerprints on the side of a wineglass and then took a picture of it:
“I used my smartphone to take this picture, but it’s certainly not out of the question to use a long focal length DSLR camera to snag a fingerprint image from across a room…or further.”
darkshark then processed the image in PhotoShop and increased the contrast, creating an alpha mask. That was exported into 3DS Max, where a geometry displacement produced a perfect, raised 3D model of the fingerprint. It then took darkshark less than 15 minutes to 3D print the model on an AnyCubic Photon LCD resin printer.
“It took me 3 reprints trying to get the right ridge height (and I forgot to mirror the fingerprint on the first one) but yeah, 3rd time was the charm,” said darkshark. “The 3D print will unlock my phone…in some cases just as well as my actual finger does.”
This brings a whole new element not only to the issue of theft, but also regarding lifting fingerprints and then using them for identification when needed—and just as so many of us (naively, it would now seem) had been trusting the fingerprint scan as a secure way to protect access.
“This brings up a lot of ethics questions and concerns,” said darkshark. “There’s nothing stopping me from stealing your fingerprints without you ever knowing, then printing gloves with your fingerprints built into them and going and committing a crime.”
“If I steal someone’s phone, their fingerprints are already on it. I can do this entire process in less than three minutes and remotely start the 3D print so that it’s done by the time I get to it. Most banking apps only require fingerprint authentication so I could have all of your info and spend your money in less than 15 minutes if your phone is secured by fingerprint alone.”
3D printing and security have been topics of concern over the last few years, along with other related issues such as the manufacturing of weapons like guns. Criminals have attempted all sorts of heists with 3D printers in their bags of tools, but this technology is also being used to foil other nefarious users with devices meant to detect credit card skimmers, function as evidence in court, and even helping with murder cases.
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[Source / Images: Imgur]