Can fingerprint security on a computer or flash drive be cracked? How secure is it?

Some laptops, for instance from Dell, and some PDAs, and some flash drives (such as SanDisk Profile) have a built in fingerprint recognition for security. Can this be hacked? Could a motivated civilian computer geek do it? or would it take heavy-duty resources like FBI or NSA to do so? I keep mildly sensitive files on my flash drive and want to keep these safe if I lose the flash drive. I am computer-challenged and know zilch about security. Any thoughts?

3 replies
  1. contraversialmatt says:

    Sure it can be hacked. Ahything electronic can be manipulated if you have enough brains, time, and ingenuity. For example, they could modify its software so It would think ANYTHING entered into it would satisfy the fingerprint check. Its just that this is extremely difficult, so you shouldnt have to worry about it.

  2. Kristofer says:

    First, I would say that fbi n stuff just fire ordinary people who put their minds together, like… the best of of the best civilian computer geek. But yeah, maybe if you remove the finger print part of the laptop and build your own little device to send the correct signals you want but in the same format as the finger print thingy, then the program wont know the difference. But generaly probly not, a boot password is secure, and i supose a finger print scaner would be just as secure. The more after the computer has turned on usualy the easier to get past… (as in boot pass hardest, msn messenger pass easiest) because u dont have the tool of windows.

    As for flash drive protection, maybe u might want to encrypt the files somehow, or for a quick solution, zip them together with a password. (can do with any zip utility like winzip or winrar or w/e)
    that is

  3. Vesselin Bontchev says:

    Yes, these devices can be bypassed, if the attacker has a copy of your fingerprint. The professional devices of this kind do much more than checking the image of the fingereprint – e.g., they measure transparency of the capilars and finger temperature, to ensure that they are presented with a real, live finger.

    But the mass-market fingerprint reading devices like the ones you find on laptops, PDAs and FLASH drives don’t do this kind of stuff. There have been reports that some of them can be bypassed even with a gummi bear with your fingerprint on it.

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