Serious vulnerability in fingerprints, classic biometric authentication Android phones, discovered by researchers from Zhejiang University and Tencent Labs.

This brute-force attack, dubbed “BrutePrint”, allows cybercriminals to bypass biometric fingerprint authentication and take control of the phone.

Brute force attacks are known for their trial and error methodwhere they try to crack codes or passwords with a few combinations and gain unauthorized access to secure systems. In this case, Chinese researchers were able to bypass existing protections in modern smartphones by exploiting two zero-day vulnerabilities called Cancel-After-Match-Failure (CAMF) and Match-After-Lock (MAL).

Inadequate protection of the biometric data stored on the serial peripheral interface of fingerprint sensors allows attackers to steal fingerprint images. Samples can also be easily obtained from academic datasets or biometric data leaks.

The researchers tested the BrutePrint and MITM SPI attacks on ten popular smartphone models. The results showed that devices running Android and HarmonyOS (Huawei) were vulnerable to unlimited attemptswhile iOS allowed ten extra attempts, indicating that the iPhone is much more effective in terms of security and system vulnerability.

BrutePrint’s work is based on send unlimited fingerprint images smartphone until a match is found with the user-specified fingerprint. However, this attack requires physical access to the computer, as well as a database of fingerprints, which can be obtained from leaks or academic datasets.

Unlike the traditional brute-force password cracking method, the BrutePrint attack uses a control threshold used when fingerprints match. Attackers can manipulate the False Acceptance Rate (FAR) to increase the acceptance threshold and thus more easily generate matches.

Researchers at Zhejiang University said the “unprecedented threat” they discovered calls for stronger operating system security and closer collaboration between smartphone and fingerprint sensor manufacturers to patch existing vulnerabilities.

Source: Digital Trends

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