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How to Bypass a Biometric Scanner

Updated on December 15, 2010

Biometric Technology in the Security Industry

Biometric technology uses complex algorithms to create biological pattern recognition. This technology is most commonly used in security to make users prove they are indeed who they say they are. Most commonly, biometric scanners are used to recognize fingerprints, but also growing in use are those which employ facial recognition.

Despite the ultra high-tech affiliation, biometric scanners can be bypassed; in other words tricked. No, a burglar robbing your house doesn't need to cut off your finger or skin your face to get into your safe (although I’m fairly certain that would work), but if they do the legwork, they can get in through very clever artificial measures. This has been proven in real-life documented instances; one of the foremost examples was on the famed Discovery channel show, Mythbusters (see the video below).

In just a moment, I’ll go into a bit more detail on how to bypass a biometric scanner, however, I’d like to first make a couple of points. Loopholes aside, biometric technology still serves as an invaluable asset to the security industry. Take personal handgun safes for instance; a pistol owner concerned about keeping his firearm locked up from his children, while also wanting it quickly accessible in an emergency home defense situation can find biometric fingerprint reading technology very beneficial. Sure, a burglar could spend hours trying preparing a clean bypass of the scanner, but likely all he’d get for his efforts is a pistol and perhaps some extra ammunition.

In addition to basic home defense, biometric scanners add an extra layer of security, or in other words, even more hassle for a ne’er-do-well. For instance, Sargent and Greenleaf, a world-renowned lock making manufacturer has several systems that combine both an electronic keypad lock with a biometric scanner - redundant security. Just imagine the possibilities when you add facial recognition to the mix...

Ok, it’s time for me to get off my soapbox and tell you how to crack one of these safe locks.

Spoofing Fingerprints

It isn't terribly difficult to trick a fingerprint reader.
It isn't terribly difficult to trick a fingerprint reader.

How to Bypass Fingerprint and Facial Recognition Scanners

Ok, it’s time for me to get off my soapbox and tell you how to crack this stuff.

Biometric fingerprint scanner: On the aforementioned Mythbusters episode, Adam and Jamie bypassed the fingerprint reader successfully using three different methods:

- They picked up a print, recreated it from ballistics gel, and mounted it onto a latex glove which Jamie was wearing at the time. Some extremely hi-tech biometric scanners not only require a fingerprint to match, but they employ temperature and humidity monitors to ensure that the crook isn’t just using a photocopy (see the third method). After licking the ballistics gel print to simulate sweat, they successfully gained access.

- In the second successful attempt, Jamie, simply used the gel mold on his own finger to gain access.

-Finally, in the third attempt (this one makes me feel a bit uneasy about the system), they bypass the lock using nothing but a printed photocopy of the fingerprint. That said, if you can lift a print off of an item (like the champagne glass in National Security), you can make a copy and bluff your way in. For once, those stupid Hollywood tricks seem to work!

Facial Recognition: Basic facial recognition scanners can actually be spoofed by printing out a high resolution copy to scale of the target’s face and presenting it when prompted. Systems which require eye movement can be tricked simply by moving the print out. Don’t believe me? Read this report! Scary, eh?

Biometric scanners can are an incredible marvel of modern science, and when used in conjunction with other forms of security, prove to be an effective extra measure. However, as demonstrated, the field still has a long way to go.

Mythbusters Bypass the Figerprint Scanner


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    • profile image

      Verrado Schmadeke 

      5 years ago

      What up biometric safe cracking students....

    • em_saenz profile image


      5 years ago from Europe

      Normally the sample fingerprint is taken in front of a witness, who would surely notice if you were wearing a rubber glove or jelly baby on your finger. You cannot do away with human surveillance altogether. Fingerprint recognition simply makes it possible to employ a skeleton staff, where once an operation would have been fully staffed.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      this is stupid

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I have to try this out.

    • profile image

      spiro kennedy 

      7 years ago

      i wonder if voice can be fooled too

    • Maryanne Maguire profile image

      Maryanne Maguire 

      8 years ago from Santa Monica, CA

      Get a good one that is the toughest to crack.

    • mythbuster profile image


      8 years ago from Utopia, Oz, You Decide

      Thank goodness for paragraph two! I've seen too many movies and was worried that bypassing these security devices would involve borrowing someone's finger - with or without their consent lol Now that I know... off to find a biometric security device



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