Did you know your fingerprints can be stolen from photos?

Avoiding flashing your fingertips is your best option

Image: Thinkstock

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Making a “duck face” in photos might not be the best look, but it’s not going to compromise your security.

However, posing while flashing a peace sign, making the “V” for victory, or even giving a “thumbs up” might result in identity theft. If your fingerprints are in focus, with strong lighting, hackers can recreate them. Then, those fingerprints can be used to log on to electronic devices, or access apps that are protected with fingerprint technology, such as banking websites.

Researchers at The National Institute of Informatics in Japan are studying the problem, and say improving smartphone technology is to blame. The researchers used a 20.4-mega pixel camera for a recent experiment. After taking a picture of a thumb, the researchers created the digit’s data. They found that fingerprint data was obtainable at a distance of three meters, or just under 10 feet away.

The National Institute of Informatics is developing a special film that can be attached to fingers, and will protect fingerprint data in photos. However, it may take another two years before the technology is available.

For now, avoiding flashing your fingertips is your best option.