Since smartphones became popular, every election day has seen the growth of the phenomenon of photographic rituals after passing through the voting booth: Citizens take a picture with their drawn fingers, Sign that you have exercised your right to vote.
However, this ease of technology in recording every moment of our lives carries many security risks, because by photographing and posting pictures of our fingers, we make it easier for hackers to copy our fingerprints.
Just like a locksmith can only recreate a key with reference images, Professional hackers with the right software can create fingerprint replicas. Isao Echizen, of the National Institute of Informatics in Japan, led an investigation in which the fingerprint was reproduced from photographs. One of the experiments he shared with the BBC involved filming a person from a distance of three meters with a semi-professional camera.
From the images, the fingerprint was obtained with almost one hundred percent accuracy. In Europe, the same exercise was done with images of politicians making a peace sign, with two fingers raised, resulting in a supposedly faithful version of their footprints. On election days, people often photograph themselves with their drawn fingers, often taking a selfie from less than a meter away. Despite the paint, the natural traces of footprints appear.
In addition to being able to clone those fingerprints to pretend to be touch proof, the fingerprint copy facilitates system-based access as the user places their finger to unlock a cell phone, unlock restricted areas, or complete actions that require a finger contact.
In Mexico, identity theft is a crime that has been on the rise for years (the entire crime group grew by 500% according to data from the Mexican Senate between 2011 and 2015. Only identity theft in bank accounts increased by 20% in the pandemic).