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NYU Indian American researchers say, smartphone fingerprint scanners can be breached

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From left: Aditi Roy, Nasir Memon and Arun Ross.
The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, was a collaboration between researchers from the New York University Tandon School of Engineering and the Michigan State University College of Engineering.

NEW YORK (Diya TV) — In a recent study titled MasterPrint: Exploring the Vulnerability of Partial Fingerprint-based Authentication Systems, which appeared in IEEE Transactions on Information Forensics & Security last month, a trio of Indian-American researchers led by NYU Tandon School of Engineering professor Nasir Memon revealed the fingerprint-based security systems used in smartphones and other gadgets are a lot more vulnerable than we imagined.

The study first began when Memon dug into Apple’s identity-authentication software patent, which uses partial fingerprints instead of a full fingerprint.

According to the study, that’s where the system is most vulnerable to penetration: “They scan and store partial fingerprints, and many phones allow users to enroll several different fingers in their authentication system. Identity is confirmed when a user’s fingerprint matches any one of the saved partial prints,” it read. The researchers found that it was possible to have enough similarities among different people’s partial prints that one could create a ‘MasterPrint’ — one that could unlock multiple phones.

Aditi Roy, a NYU Tandon postdoctoral fellow and lead author of the paper, told Rediff.com, “As more and more financial transactions — for example, mobile banking and credit card payment — are conducted on fingerprint-enabled devices such as smartphones, issues related to identity theft and malicious access can lead to unprecedented financial damages.

“Vulnerabilities of fingerprint-based authentication systems can undermine the public’s faith in using biometric solutions. So, we wanted to perform a detailed security analysis of such systems that employ small sensors.”

And according to Roy, “the more partial fingerprints a given smartphone stores for each user, the more vulnerable it is.” As Memon explained to The New York Times, “it’s as if you have 30 passwords and the attacker only has to match one.”

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Missing Hindu woman found mutilated in Pakistan

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The mutilated body of a Hindu woman was found in a field in southeastern Pakistan. Police say 40 year old Daya Bheel was murdered in the latest suspected attack against minorities in the Muslim-majority country. Authorities say they have arrested some suspects but have not determined a motive.

The Khosla family has donated nearly 2 million dollars to the Nudge Institute to help fight poverty. The philanthropists have donated millions of dollars for many other causes.

And disgraced FTX founder Sam Bankman-fried pleaded not guilty to eight different counts of wire fraud, securities fraud, and conspiracy before a U.S. federal court in the Southern District of New York. U.S. prosecutors allege that under Bankman-Fried’s direction, FTX, once considered one of the largest and most-trusted cryptocurrency exchanges, transferred billions in customer assets to his trading firm, Alameda Research. If convicted of these charges, Bankman-Fried faces up to 115 years in prison.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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Christmas crash kills Indian American toddler

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Tragic news out of Nevada. Authorities say an Indian American toddler has died in a devastating Christmas day car crash and his mother is in critical condition fighting for her life. Authorities say the accident happened on a busy Las Vegas boulevard and they were returning home from a trip in California.

Anil Beephan is now the first Indian American Republican ever to be elected to the New York State Assembly in Albany. So far only Indian American Democrats have been elected to the state legislature. Beephan will also become the first minority to represent Dutchess County and at 29 years old, he’s the youngest GOP rep in the state legislature. He’s currently in the tech industry and has also worked as a volunteer firefighter.

Vice President Kamala Harris has named Indian American Rajeev Badyal to a key national advisory group, responsible for strategy and recommendations to improve and maintain space policy. Badyal already works for Amazon, helping launch satellites into orbit. 

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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EXCLUSIVE: Warriors host first-ever Bhangra Night

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SAN FRANCISCO (Diya TV) – The Golden State Warriors first-ever Bhangra Night made its debut during the Warriors-Jazz game at the Chase Center in San Francisco. The Warriors say it’s a chance for the team to connect with the Bay Area’s rapidly growing South Asian community and fan base. Only Diya TV was on hand to capture the festivities. This change from the annual Bollywood night was supposed to take place in 2020 but was postponed because of the pandemic.

A federal jury in San Francisco has convicted Sivannarayana Barama of insider trading. Authorities say he used the quarterly financial performance of Palo Alto Networks before that information was released to the public and then traded in that company’s stock while that information was still confidential. Barama worked in IT for several Silicon Valley companies.

U.S. Border Patrol caught more than 4000 Indians illegally crossing the Mexico border in October and November. That’s more than double compared to the same time frame last year. An Indian man recently died climbing a border wall in Texas. The Biden administration is struggling to contain a surge of illegal immigration at the southern border.

Ravi Kapur contributed to this report.

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