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Mastering the Art of Palm Reading

Criminals are figuring out how to fool biometric systems
relates to Mastering the Art of Palm Reading
Illustration: 731

Worried about ATM fraud, several Brazilian banks began rolling out machines equipped with fingerprint readers. Undeterred, criminals began severing the fingers of account holders to gain access to their money, says Frank Natoli, chief innovation officer at Diebold. One of the world’s top suppliers of ATMs, Diebold is working with some of the country’s banks to switch over to palm-vein-recognition systems. “We made sure people can’t abscond with other people’s digits,” he says.

As biometric authentication systems for banking and mobile payments go mainstream, criminals are honing techniques—some gruesome, some elegant—to overcome the systems’ much hyped security. “The faster the adoption of biometrics, the more attempts we’ll see, in the same way that cyberfraud started taking off when e-commerce was on the rise,” warns Cyrille Bataller, a managing director at Accenture who consults with government clients.