Potential Risks of Smartphone Security Technology

New security features are being added to latest smartphone models. Ten years ago, these features can only be seen on spy movies, but they already become mainstream technology. However, these solutions are not without issues.


Fingerprint scanners

Fingerprint is unique and exclusive to each individual. From the standard camera-based fingerprint sensor, new devices are using sensor based on ultrasonic technology. It transmits ultrasonic pulses that bounce back from pores, ridges and small details of your finger skin. Unfortunately, security researchers have discovered that this technology can be bypassed by intricate 3D prints of stolen fingerprint. When fingerprint information is obtained from database, it is possible to create a 3D print from it.


Iris scanners

Irises in our eyes have unique patterns and it could be used to confirm out identity. Unlike fingerprint scanner, iris-scanning technology is generally more secure. The sensor emits a near infrared beam to our eyes to capture the iris pattern. However, it is still possible to fool the system. A hacking team from Germany used a night vision camera to capture reflected infrared light from a target’s eye. The result is then printed on a paper and it’s shown in front of the iris scanner. If the photo is detailed enough, you can be granted access.


Face scanner

It’s another popular security solution used by mid-range and flagship smartphone models. When this feature is enabled, the phone will automatically recognize and activate the phone, without any effort on your part. We have seen that the iPhone X was easily accessed by people with nearly similar facial features, such as siblings or children. There’s 1 in 135 chance that someone has roughly similar facial features with you, increasing the security risk.

Despite these risks, the chance of your device getting hacked is actually quite slim. It takes a lot of effort to steal biometric data from a target. A petty thief won’t go through extreme length to bypass the security system of your phone. It’s more likely for them to sell your phone in the black market, which will be flashed and sold as refurbished unit.