Credits: The New York Times

BrutePrint Attack: Unlocking Android Phones in Minutes, iPhones Remain Secure

Security researchers recently released information about a new attack called BrutePrint that can quickly compromise the fingerprint authentication on some Android devices, which is a worrying development. This technique uses an Android phone vulnerability to quickly unlock the screen of a target device in as little as 45 minutes. Despite the fact that Android phones seem to be vulnerable to this vulnerability, iPhones have shown to be impervious because of the strong encryption controls included in iOS.

Google Pixel 6 Pro fingerprint sensor with light bleed

Credits: Android Authority

Understanding BrutePrint Attack:

The Android bug that permits limitless fingerprint guesses is exploited by the BrutePrint attack. The attack can methodically try to match the stored fingerprints on the device by using a relatively cheap $15 circuit board and a database of fingerprints (typically derived from research or actual breaches). With fingerprint authentication, which depends on a threshold-based method as opposed to password authentication, which demands a precise match, the device can be unlocked with a sufficient match.

Testing and Results:

Researchers tested a variety of devices to show the effectiveness of BrutePrint. The gadgets featured the Huawei Mate 30 Pro 5G, Huawei P40, OPPO Reno Ace, Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus, Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, vivo X60 Pro, OnePlus 7 Pro, and Apple iPhone SE. The $15 circuit board was connected to each device, and the attack started.

The amount of stored fingerprints for authentication and the security framework used by the particular device affected how long it took to unlock each phone. With unlocking times ranging from 0.73 to 2.9 hours, the Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus turned out to be the most susceptible. The Xiaomi Mi 11, on the other hand, needed substantially more time, ranging from 2.78 to 13.89 hours.

Immunity of iPhones:

The BrutePrint attack’s inability to compromise iPhones is one of its remarkable characteristics. While it was discovered that Android smartphones were vulnerable, iPhones were kept secure because to the strong encryption features added to iOS. iOS encrypts critical information, including fingerprint data, in contrast to Android, which does not. This makes it much harder for attackers to exploit security flaws.

Mitigating the Threat:

Smartphone makers and suppliers of fingerprint sensors must work together to address the BrutePrint threat. BrutePrint’s developers stress the requirement that manufacturers include more robust security safeguards in their products and collaborate closely with sensor producers to guarantee the reliability of fingerprint authentication systems. Operating systems can also be extremely helpful in reducing these risks by providing stronger encryption techniques and actively correcting holes.

The Future of Fingerprint Authentication:

While the BrutePrint attack draws attention to a worrisome flaw in some Android devices, it’s crucial to understand that the attack depends on particular circumstances. Physical access to the device, the availability of a fingerprint database, and a certain amount of technological know-how are all necessary. In spite of this, it serves as a reminder that no security mechanism is 100% perfect and that ongoing watchfulness is required to counter evolving threats.

The makers of smartphones must keep funding research and development to improve their security systems in light of this attack. This entails putting in place strong encryption techniques, improving the integration of hardware and software, and proactively correcting any weaknesses found. Users should exercise caution and take additional security precautions to increase the security of their devices, such as using multi-factor authentication and creating complex passwords.


The BrutePrint attack reveals a worrying flaw in some Android smartphones that makes it possible to overcome fingerprint verification in a short amount of time. iPhones have shown to be resilient because of the encryption mechanisms in iOS, however Android phones are susceptible to this vulnerability. It is critical that smartphone makers and suppliers of fingerprint sensors work together to quickly fix such vulnerabilities as technology develops. The integrity of fingerprint authentication systems must be ensured by bolstering security precautions, improving encryption mechanisms, and regularly correcting vulnerabilities.