Industry News

Brazilian Doctors Used Fake Fingers to Trick Biometric Clocking Devices

Doctors at the Ferraz de Vasconcelos hospital in Sao Paulo have taken Brazilian scams a step further and fabricated fake fingers out of silicone to fool clocking systems on the premises.

The scam was caught on tape and then disclosed by Globo Television on their website [Portuguese content]. According to the report, employees of the hospital created clones of their thumb prints and distributed them to fellow colleagues. Once punched in, they also punched in a colleague using their thumb image.

The footage taken by the Municipal Guard of Ferraz de Vasconcelos caught 29-year-old Thauane Nunes Ferreira, who was arrested and found in possession of six silicone fingers used to impersonate as many staffers who were not on site.

It is currently unknown what brand of thumbprint readers are used in the hospital to identify staffers, but most commercial biometric devices are not difficult to trick with a high-quality replica of one’s thumb.

Luckily for the rest of the world, mission-critical biometric identification devices such as those in airports use additional verification to determine if a real thumb or a replica is on the sensor. They measure electrical conductivity, sweat and other biometric features of living tissue.

About the author


Bogdan Botezatu is living his second childhood at Bitdefender as senior e-threat analyst. When he is not documenting sophisticated strains of malware or writing removal tools, he teaches extreme sports such as surfing the web without protection or rodeo with wild Trojan horses. He believes that most things in life can be beat with strong heuristics and that antimalware research is like working for a secret agency: you need to stay focused at all times, but you get all the glory when you catch the bad guys.