We cracked Apple’s finger scanner: hacking group
German collective claims iPhone 5S Touch ID system bypassed with fake finger
Just two days after the official launch of the iPhone 5S, a German hacking Group claimed it has cracked Apple's Touch ID system, the fingerprint unlocking mechanism in the new smartphone.
The Chaos Computing Club, one of the world's largest and most prominent hacking communities, said it achieved the break by photographing an iPhone user's finger and printing it on a transparent sheet, which was then used to make a mold for a fake finger. The group claimed similar processes had cracked "the vast majority" of fingerprint sensors on the market.
The CCC said it had targeted the iPhone 5S because of the grandiose claims made of its security feature.
"Fingerprints should not be used to secure anything," a hacker named Starbug said on the CCC's website. "You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints."
A consortium of security experts backed by venture capital firm I/O Capital has offered a $13,000 cash reward for a verified crack of Apple's fingerprint security. While the consortium said it was awaiting video walkthrough confirmation of the method used, Reuters quoted one expert who believed the crack was genuine.
"I think it's legit," said Dino Dai Zovi," co-author of the iOS Hacker's Handbook. "The CCC doesn't fool around or over-hype, especially when they are trying to make a political point."
Verification of the hack would be embarrassing for Apple. Despite a new chip, a fresh 64-bit operating system with a revised interface and a number of other new features, the Touch ID system was widely held to be the only innovation in a handset criticised for a lack of new ideas.
After the launch of the 5S and its fellow iPhone, the 5C, Apple shares dipped slightly as investors awaited early sales figures, due to be disclosed later this week.