Sharing high-resolution media online could inadvertently expose sensitive biometric data, according to a report released by a cyber security company on Tuesday.
This can be especially dangerous, said a 75-page report by Trend Micro, because people do not know they are exposing the information.
In the report, for example, the #EyeMakeup hashtag on Instagram, which has nearly 10 million posts, and the #EyeChallenge with more than two billion views, is enough to pass an iris scanner to uncover iris patterns.
“By publicly sharing certain types of content on social media, we give malicious actors the opportunity to source our biometrics,” the report states. “By posting our voice messages, we uncover voice patterns. By posting photo and video content, we highlight our face, retina, iris, ear-shaped patterns and, in some cases, palms and fingerprints. ,
“Since such data may be publicly available, we have limited control over its distribution,” it added. “Therefore we do not know who has already accessed the data, nor do we know for how long or for what purposes the data will be kept.”
not a panacea
The report covers what types of biometric data can be exposed on social media and outlines more than two dozen attack scenarios.
“The report suggests that biometric identification is not a panacea,” said Will Duffield, a policy analyst at the Cato Institute, a Washington, DC-based think tank.
“As we design detection systems, we need to be aware of technologies going down the pike and potential abuse in the real world,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“Trend Micro raises some valid concerns, but these concerns are not new to biometrics professionals,” Sami Alini, a biometrics specialist with Contrast Security, a maker of self-protection software solutions in Los Altos, Calif., told TechNewsWorld.
He said there are several ways to attack a biometric system, including a “presentation” attack described by the report, which substitutes a photo or other object for the biometric element.
To counter this, he continued, “viability” must be determined to ensure that the biometric presented is that of a living person and not a “replay” of a previously captured biometric.
Avi Turgman, CEO and co-founder of IronVest, an account and identity security company in New York City, agreed that “viability” is one key to thwarting attacks on biometric security.
“The Trend Micro report raises concerns about fraudulent biometrics created through social media content,” he told TechNewsWorld. “The real secret in fraud-proof biometrics is detecting liveliness, something that cannot be recreated through images and videos collected on social media.”
one factor not enough
Even when tested for liveability, biometrics can still be very easy to bypass, security awareness advocates at KnowBe4, a security awareness training provider in Clearwater, Fla., maintained.
“Holding the phone in front of a person’s face while sleeping can unlock the device, especially when they use it with the default settings, and collecting fingerprints is not a difficult task,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“What is even more worrying is that once the biometric factor is compromised, it cannot be changed like a password,” he said. “You can’t change your fingerprints or facial structure for a long time if you violate it.”
If the Trend Micro report shows anything, it’s that multi-factor authentication is a necessity, even if one of those factors is biometric.
“When used as a single factor for authentication, it is important to note that biometrics may be subject to failure or manipulation by a malicious user, particularly when that biometric data is publicly available on social media, Darren Guccione, CEO of Keeper Security, a password management and online storage company based in Chicago.
“As the capabilities of malicious actors using voice or facial biometric authentication continue to grow, it is imperative that all users implement multiple factors of authentication and use strong, unique passwords in their accounts to limit the blast radius. Apply if an authentication method is violated,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“I don’t like to put all my eggs in one basket,” said Bill Malik, Trend Micro Vice President of Infrastructure Strategies. “Biometric is nice and useful, but having an additional factor of authentication gives me more confidence.”
“For most applications, a biometric and a PIN are fine,” he told TechNewsWorld. “When a biometric is used alone, it’s really easy to create.”
He stressed that the collection of biometric data will become an even greater problem when the metaverse becomes more popular.
“When you get into the metaverse, it’s going to get worse,” he said. “You’re putting on these $1,500 glasses that are designed to not only give you a realistic view of the world, but to find out what you like and don’t like about the world you see.” We are constantly monitoring your subtle expressions to find out.
However, he is not concerned that additional biometric data is being used by Digital Desperado to create deepfake clones. “Hackers are lazy, and they get everything they need with simple phishing attacks,” he declared. “So they’re not going to spend a lot of money for a supercomputer so they can clone someone.”
Device tied biometrics
Another way to secure biometric authentication is to tie it to a piece of hardware. With a biometric enrolled on a specific device, it can only be used to authenticate the user with that device.
Reed McGinley-Stempel, co-founder and CEO of Stitch, a passwordless authentication company in San Francisco, said, “This is the way Apple and Google’s biometric products work today — it’s not just the biometrics that you get when you use Face ID. Let’s check the time.”
“When you actually do a Face ID check on your iPhone, it checks that the current biometric check matches the biometric enrollment that’s stored in your device’s secure enclave,” he told TechNewsWorld.
“In this model,” he continued, “the threat of someone accessing your photos or fingerprinting yours doesn’t help them unless they have control over your physical device, which is something for attackers to climb into.” There is a very steep hill for the remote nature in which the cyber attackers operate.”
losing control of our data
The Trend Micro report states that as users, we are losing control over our data and its future uses, and the common user may not be well aware of the risks posed by the platforms we use every day. Is.
Data from social media networks is already being used by governments and even startups to extract biometrics and create identity models for surveillance cameras, it continued.
The fact that our biometric data cannot be changed means that in the future, such a wealth of data will be increasingly useful to criminals, it added.
Whether that future is five or 20 years ahead, the data is available now, it said. We are indebted to our future selves for taking precautions today to protect ourselves in tomorrow’s world.
trend micro report, Leaked Today, Exploited for Life: How social media biometric patterns affect your futureAvailable here in PDF format. No form is required to be filled at the time of this publication.