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Security Impact of High Resolution Smartphone Cameras
Tobias Fiebig, Jan Krissler, and Ronny Hänsch, Berlin University of Technology
Nearly every modern mobile device includes two cameras. With advances in technology the resolution of these sensors has constantly increased. While this development provides great convenience for users, for example with video-telephony or as dedicated camera replacement, the security implications of including high resolution cameras on such devices has yet to be considered in greater detail. With this paper we demonstrate that an attacker may abuse the cameras in modern smartphones to extract valuable information from a victim. First, we consider exploiting a front-facing camera to capture a user’s keystrokes. By observing facial reflections, it is possible to capture user input with the camera. Subsequently, individual keystrokes can be extracted from the images acquired with the camera. Furthermore, we demonstrate that these cameras can be used by an attacker to extract and forge the fingerprints of a victim. This enables an attacker to perform a wide range of malicious actions, including authentication bypass on modern biometric systems and falsely implicating a person by planting fingerprints in a crime scene. Finally, we introduce several mitigation strategies for the identified threats.
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