Just a day after the launch of the iPhone 5S, hackers in Germany managed to bypass its much-lauded Touch ID fingerprint-scanning security technology.
Apple boasts concerning Touch ID that “Your fingerprint is one of the best passcodes in the world. It’s always with you, and no two are exactly alike.” However it seems that it’s quite possible to fool the system with a relatively crude copy.
Hackers at the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) have revealed that Apple’s Touch ID system can be bypassed using similar principles to previous fingerprint-scanner exploits.
According to a CCC blog post, the Touch ID scanner is much like previous implementations of the technology, only much higher resolution. “In reality,” notes a hacker named Starbug, “Apple’s sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far.”
As such, all you need to do to bypass it is increase the resolution of your fake.
This involves taking a 2400DPI picture of the iPhone 5S owner’s fingerprint, then inverting and printing the image at 1200DPI on a transparent sheet. The hackers used a laser printer and a thick toner setting.
You then smear white wood glue onto the print, allow to set, and lift off for your very own fake fingerprint fit to unlock a state-of-the-art smartphone.
“It is plain stupid to use something that you can´t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token”, concluded Frank Rieger, spokesperson of the CCC.
Of course, the need to source a super-steady high-definition image of a person’s finger suggests that your average iPhone 5S user has little to worry about. But any world leaders or secret service employees might want to stick to passcodes to secure their phones.
Next, read about the iPhone 5S problems and pitfalls.