Hackers Fool iPhone 5S Fingerprint Scanner

Dennis Faas's picture

Apple's new fingerprint security system for the iPhone 5S was supposed to make it harder for hackers to access a user's personal information. However, it appears hackers in Germany have already found a way to dupe the system.

Germany's Chaos Computer Club (CCC) hacking group recently unveiled a strategy for beating the iPhone 5S' fingerprint authentication.

The trick: using a customized print out of a victim's fingerprint.

Victim Fingerprint, Common Home Tools All That's Required

Here's how the trick works: first, a hacker must acquire a high-quality photograph of a victim's fingerprint. Next, they must invert the image and print it using a laser printer with a "thick toner setting". (Source: pcworld.com)

Next, the hacker must smear white wood glue or latex milk into the pattern created by the print out. Once this hardens, the hacker can peel away the pattern and swipe it on the fingerprint scanner.

The CCC (which has posted a YouTube video showing a person successfully carrying out the trick) says they've been able to use this tactic to bypass the iPhone 5S' fingerprint security system.

While the process requires some careful work on the part of the hacker, it's nothing the average tech-savvy individual couldn't figure out.

Hardly a New Trick, Hackers Say

It's also not a new trick, the CCC says.

"This process has been used with minor refinements and variations against the vast majority of fingerprint sensors on the market," the CCC noted on its blog.

Apple has not yet commented on the video or the CCC blog report.

Many security experts won't be surprised by the news. A number of industry insiders have previously pointed out that fingerprint authentication systems are flawed, and should not be a user's sole means of protecting their data and devices.

For example, two weeks ago Lookout security researcher Marc Rogers made clear that fingerprint authentication systems are anything but perfect.

"It is possible to copy a fingerprint and I think that as the technology sees wider usage, the techniques of copying fingerprints will only improve," Rogers said. (Source: computerworld.com)

Rate this article: 
No votes yet