Security Issue: Passwords and Fingerprints can be spied out via Smartphone Camera


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We as photographers know that an increase in megapixels hardly ever results in a higher, practically usable image quality. Especially for tiny sensors, such as the ones found in affordable compact cameras and smart phones, higher megapixels lead to a decrease in image quality (lower color depth, more noise etc.). As researchers of the TU Berlin and the Telekom Innovation Laboratories demonstrated on the latter’s 10-year celebration, it is possible to use the front camera of a smart phone to read reflections of the smart phone screen in one’s eyes or even more easily on one’s glasses, if the user has any. Also, as heise.de reports, the back camera lets you scan fingerprints of the user when grabbing the smart phone. The higher resolving the camera, the easier it may be misused for espionage activities. When spying on someone, noise and color depth are of little importance, anyway. 😉

kamera-handy-fingerabdruck-spionage-tu-berlin

Image surce: heise.de

In future, hackers might conceivably integrate key logging software like this in harmless apps requiring access to your camera for installation. Security is a scarcely debated topic among smart phone users anyway; it would thus be easy to get hold of all kinds of passwords and data. Even though I have an anti-virus app on my smart phone, I wonder if harmful software will be detected in time or at all. Will we need to mask our smart phone cameras with duct tape in future?

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