Security Risks of Biometrics
From the BBC:
Police in Malaysia are hunting for members of a violent gang who chopped off a car owner’s finger to get round the vehicle’s hi-tech security system.
The car, a Mercedes S-class, was protected by a fingerprint recognition system.
What interests me about this story is the interplay between attacker and defender. The defender implements a countermeasure that causes the attacker to change his tactics. Sometimes the new tactics are more harmful, and it’s not obvious whether or not the countermeasure was worth it.
I wrote about something similar in Beyond Fear (p. 113):
Someone might think: “I am worried about car theft, so I will buy an expensive security device that makes ignitions impossible to hot-wire.” That seems like a reasonable thought, but countries such as Russia, where these security devices are commonplace, have seen an increase in carjackings. A carjacking puts the driver at a much greater risk; here the security countermeasure has caused the weakest link to move from the ignition switch to the driver. Total car thefts may have declined, but drivers’ safety did, too.
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