Breaking Fingerprints

As part of my college course on Biometric Forensics we where challenged
to clone fingerprints and circumvent fingerprint readers

October 2019

The idea of the experiment was to circumvent the fingerprint security system, by cloning and replicating a fingerprint that can be used to be verified against a pre enrolled system. The experiment will involve taking a look at multiple different materials for the best conductivity and imprintablity to gage which combination will produce the best finger print impression, mold and finished product. With the ultimate goal being to bypass the system and login

The experiment was conducted on a GSA certified fingerprint scanner used by many Government Agencies in the United States. The results where varied and limited to on selection due to the time frame allowed for the experiment.
Upon researching the best materials available for me to use to mold fingerprints, I came across 2 items the offered the best possible outcome when it game to gathering a mold, Play-Doh and DAS modeling clay.

Both of these substances allowed for the best fingerprint imprint on them and will allow for the best imprint to be passed to the latex when creating the finger print, to the right you can see the two substances used for capture/modeling the fingerprint. Both types of material where used during this experiment to test the viability to gage the best substance to capture fingerprints with.
For crafting the actual fingerprint in the mold, there were multiple different substances available to allow me to test for this experiment. Each has different characteristics that make the good or bad for the experiment there was an attempt of each one.

The needed features of the substance are some of the following to pull the best features from the mold, to be conductive enough that they will be able to pass through the electrical charge from the fingers to the reader to be able to recognize the fingerprint and bypass liveness detection. To the left we have the 3 different substances, Transparent glue by TEC7, Crafters Pick Wood Glue and Liquid Latex used for film and TV.
The hardware used for this experiment was only what was available to me during the lab time while in college; this was a Futronic Finger Print Scanner model number FS88 fingerprint scanner, this has a GSA rating and is a very common system implemented in multiple government office. Photos located to the right. Upon further researching the model I used for this experiment it was very funny the fact the device is rated to work against the silicone, rubber, and play-doh.

The experiment was conducted on an HP Envy Touchsmart laptop, running Windows 10 64bit, using the default drivers downloaded from the Neurotechnology website. 
The software used for this experiment was the fingerprint scanning software used which can be found in the MegaMatcher SDK package Demo which can be downloaded from in both demo and trial versions. Drivers for the hardware were also downloaded from the same location

The software interface looks like this, here you can see an attempted made with to test captured fingerprints.
The software used for this experiment was the fingerprint scanning software used which can be found in the MegaMatcher SDK package Demo called VeriFinger, which can be downloaded from in both demo and trial versions. Drivers for the hardware where also downloaded from the same location
Preparing the of the mold materials involved rolling up small balls of the play-doh and clay, so they are smooth, that looks something like this on the left.

The next step was to use something rounded to roll them out flat so they would be used to imprint the fingerprint on, you can see this to the left also
The first step of modeling is to get the impression of the fingerprint on the play-doh and clay.

This was done by lightly pressing both index fingers and both thumbs into the clay and play-doh to create a mold. This can be seen in the photo on the right
These molds where then filed with the Wood Glue, Liquid Latex and the Sealing Glue as described before.

To speed up the drying process there was a hair dryer used to dry up the molds. It was at this stage that we noticed, that modeling clay is not drying enough to be able to remove the mold imprint, so the clay mold was removed from this stage of the experiment.
Removing from the Mold

Because of the issues with drying the clay mold, I decided skip that type from the experiment. Removing the first one the glue the ended up having way to much residue meaning the reader could not read any prints.

Removing the latex from the play-doh gave a better working imprint to work with, in this case rubbing the imprint removed any excuses play-doh goo.

When fully cleaned it looks like the above, you can almost see the imprint in the image, if you inspect the image closely you can see the imprint.

To show that the imprint took to the latex I decided to use a Permanent marker to darken the print with marker to show fingerprint on the latex, this imprint was a damaged print so nothing was lost with doing this to this clone.

Here we can see a failure on damaged latex from a clay mold that wasn’t 100% dried at the time of removing.

Testing the fingerprint against a pre-enrolled fingerprint of the same fingerprint brought up and was verified by the system, but this was with a low score.

To the right you can see the successes of the cloned fingerprint against a pre-enrolled user.

A second attempt was done using another fingerprint and it gave an even better score on the system. This was also done from the Latex, you can also see that result on the right.


The conclusion of the experiment is that, when it comes to cloning fingerprints play-doh is the best to capture an imprint and be used as a mold, It was also found that liquid latex used for film and makeup props.

There was no attempt to make use the clay ones as they did not dry properly and could damage the reader’s glass as they were leaving residue on the glass, meaning captures after where failing.

It was extremely interesting to see how I broke a GSA certified finger by using material that apparently this device was rated against. all in all it was a fun little experiment.