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Your fingerprint could be stolen from a selfie

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Your fingerprint could be stolen from a selfie

WATCH | Keep your self(ie) safe!

Picture this: a duplicate of your fingerprint

New research from the National Institute of Informatics claims that thieves can steal your fingerprint if it makes an appearance in a hi-resolution, well-lit picture.

The stolen paw print could, conceivably, be used to make a duplicate to access a person's smartphone and all the information hidden inside of it.

Fingerprint data can be recreated if fingerprints are in focus with strong lighting in a picture.
Isao Echizen, NII researcher, told Sankei Shimbun
Fingerprint
(Circa)

In this picture -- taken with an iPhone camera -- you can actually see most of the fingerprint. Scary!

You may want to cool it with the selfies

With today's smartphone cameras carrying the impressive megapixel power that they do, your Instagram selfies are prime candidates for print stealers to prowl on. Especially bad: selfies with peace signs or waves "hello," because it exposes the print side of your digits.

The recent study, which is not exactly the first to tackle fingerprint copying by way of picture, took place in Japan, where peace sign selfies are basically an epidemic.

Peace sign and wave
(Circa)

Another reason to avoid these cheeseball poses. And possibly selfies all together.

But don't worry yourself(ie) too much

Luckily, the elements that need to be in place for a picture to be biometric-level clear occur in maybe 30 out of 100 snaps, according to an expert interviewed by Mashable. The lighting has to be right, and the image has to be ultra hi-resolution and focused. Also: As far as selfies go, those are typically taken with a phone's front camera -- typically a lower-quality lens than the one on the back of the phone -- meaning probably fewer shots out of 100 would have biometric-level clarity.

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