The Scary Reason Why You Won't Want To Flash The 'Peace Sign' In Pictures From Now On

A new study has revealed just how easy it is for hackers to obtain your fingerprint data from an innocent photo of a 'peace sign'.

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This summer, we guarantee you won't be able to scroll through social media without being inundated by photos of old school friends or colleagues on holiday, showing off their favourite Victoria's Secret-inspired model poses:

  • The classic 'I'm a little teapot' arm on hip stance.
  • The 'Here's the back of my head while I stand in an infinity pool looking out into the distance, considering the world' pose.
  • The 'I'm nonchalantly tucking a piece of hair behind my ear as I smile at my plate of rigatoni and burrata in a restaurant on the Amalfi Coast' look.

However, there's one pose you and your social media followers might want to think twice about this year – the 'peace sign'.

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The innocent 'V-sign' might be well be loved by The Beatles, The Spice Girls and peace activists around the world, but a recent study has revealed it might pose a considerable threat to your security.

Earlier this year, the Telegraph reported on a team from Japan's National Institute of Informatics which had demonstrated how fingerprint data can be obtained from photographs taken with a high-resolution digital camera, which could subsequently help hackers recreate your prints to access your phone, computers and bank details.

According to the study, the copied prints were a near 100 per cent match to the original fingerprints, even when a subject was standing up to three metres away.

Professor Isao Echizen, a security and digital media researcher at the NII, told local paper Sankei Shimbun: 'Just by casually making a peace sign in front of a camera, fingerprints can become widely available.'

And, for those of you thinking, 'yes, but we're not living in a Minority Report world where someone acquiring my fingerprints is actually that big of a deal', think again.

Unlike a quick password change or requesting a new debit card to prevent hackers accessing your accounts, Robert Capps from biometrics company NuData Security warns, 'once biometric data is stolen and resold on the Dark Web, the risk of inappropriate access to a user's accounts and identity will persist for that person's lifetime'.

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Look, unlocking our mobile phones and gym lockers with a touch of an index finger might have become second-nature to us but, once our biometric data is stolen, it can be used and spread across the world forever.

And, let's face it, getting a new index finger isn't exactly as easy as calling up the bank to request a new pin number.

To protect people's biometric information, Professor Echizen and his team have reportedly created transparent, titanium films that can be applied to finger tips to protect prints from being copied.

Meanwhile, China-based technology manufacturer, Goodix, is reported to be developing a 'live' fingerprint scanner that relies on underlying tissue and pulse to help identify users, rather than prints alone.

However, until these inventions are accessible to mainstream society, it looks like it's a 'farewell' to the peace sign for now.

V-sign, you served us well…until you didn't.

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