Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

3/31/2008
08:45 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Black Hat Researcher Hacks Biometric System

'Biologger' steals fingerprint, other biometric data

If you think biometric scans are necessarily secure, think again: A European researcher has built a biometric keylogger that can capture fingerprint or other scans.

The so-called Biologger intercepts biometric data sent between a biometric scanner and its processing server, says Matt Lewis, a researcher with Information Risk Management, who demonstrated the tool and released proof-of-concept source code for it last week at Black Hat Europe in Amsterdam.

“It is the biometric equivalent of a traditional keylogger,” Lewis says. Biologger easily captures the biometric traffic, which then can be taken offline for the attacker to analyze and to find ways to subvert the biometric system, he says, adding that an attacker could use that information to recreate a user’s raw biometric image.

The attacker then could use that biometric to stage a spoofing attack, or to open a locked door, for instance, he says. “For example, if the system is a physical access control solution, then it may be possible to replay control signals that open locked doors, without the requirement for the presence of a valid biometric."

Lewis says an attacker could configure Biologger in several ways -- for sniffing biometric devices in a domain; as an inline wire tap or proxy device; for ARP poisoning; and as a memory-resident keylogger on a host. But planting Biologger in the victim network isn’t so easy: “Biologging as an attack vector is trivial. The difficult part might be getting the Biologger onto a network," he says.

“This could be done through physical means, or if the circumstances permitted, through exploitation of vulnerabilities via the Internet."

So what exactly is Biologger exploiting? The fact that many biometric systems don’t encrypt biometric data during the authentication process, according to Lewis. “Strong encryption of all biometric-related data during all transactions is the best way to defend against the attacks described in my paper,” he says. “This includes encryption over the network, and when storing biometric data in back-end databases.”

Lewis says biometrics isn’t about security: “Biometrics can work incredibly well under the right circumstances. It is just important that proper security controls are placed around biometric systems, as the biometric component alone cannot be relied upon for security."

Biologger is also aimed at building a penetration testing tool for biometric systems, he says -- capturing the traffic would be the core component of such a test.

Lewis says the Biologger source code he released is merely a POC of a proxy that captures data. “The aim of the POC was to highlight the simplicity of biologging, and how strong encryption would go a long way in protecting against the types of attacks that can be executed as a result of intercepted and unencrypted biometric data."

Have a comment on this story? Please click "Discuss" below. If you'd like to contact Dark Reading's editors directly, send us a message.

  • Black Hat Inc.

    Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio

    Comment  | 
    Print  | 
    More Insights
  • Comments
    Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
    I 'Hacked' My Accounts Using My Mobile Number: Here's What I Learned
    Nicole Sette, Director in the Cyber Risk practice of Kroll, a division of Duff & Phelps,  11/19/2019
    DevSecOps: The Answer to the Cloud Security Skills Gap
    Lamont Orange, Chief Information Security Officer at Netskope,  11/15/2019
    Attackers' Costs Increasing as Businesses Focus on Security
    Robert Lemos, Contributing Writer,  11/15/2019
    Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
    White Papers
    Video
    Cartoon Contest
    Current Issue
    Navigating the Deluge of Security Data
    In this Tech Digest, Dark Reading shares the experiences of some top security practitioners as they navigate volumes of security data. We examine some examples of how enterprises can cull this data to find the clues they need.
    Flash Poll
    Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
    Rethinking Enterprise Data Defense
    Frustrated with recurring intrusions and breaches, cybersecurity professionals are questioning some of the industrys conventional wisdom. Heres a look at what theyre thinking about.
    Twitter Feed
    Dark Reading - Bug Report
    Bug Report
    Enterprise Vulnerabilities
    From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
    CVE-2019-19033
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
    Jalios JCMS 10 allows attackers to access any part of the website and the WebDAV server with administrative privileges via a backdoor account, by using any username and the hardcoded dev password.
    CVE-2019-19191
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
    Shibboleth Service Provider (SP) 3.x before 3.1.0 shipped a spec file that calls chown on files in a directory controlled by the service user (the shibd account) after installation. This allows the user to escalate to root by pointing symlinks to files such as /etc/shadow.
    CVE-2019-15511
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
    An exploitable local privilege escalation vulnerability exists in the GalaxyClientService installed by GOG Galaxy. Due to Improper Access Control, an attacker can send unauthenticated local TCP packets to the service to gain SYSTEM privileges in Windows system where GOG Galaxy software is installed....
    CVE-2019-16405
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
    Centreon Web 19.04.4 allows Remote Code Execution by an administrator who can modify Macro Expression location settings.
    CVE-2019-16406
    PUBLISHED: 2019-11-21
    Centreon Web 19.04.4 has weak permissions within the OVA (aka VMware virtual machine) and OVF (aka VirtualBox virtual machine) files, allowing attackers to gain privileges via a Trojan horse Centreon-autodisco executable file that is launched by cron.