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Apple's iPhone fingerprint technology TouchID hacked

Posting in Technology

A hacking group claims it has managed to break Apple's biometric recognition technology used in the latest range of smartphones just days after launch.

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) says it has successfully bypassed the security measures used by Apple's fingerprint scanner, TouchID, which is found in the new iPhone 5s. Demonstrated in the video below, the CCC says that a fingerprint of the phone user, photographed from a glass surface, was enough to create a fake finger that could unlock an iPhone 5s secured with TouchID.

One hacker, nicknamed Starbug, ran the experiments to circumvent the fingerprint locking system. After successfully breaking through security, Starbug wrote:

"In reality, Apple's sensor has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake. As we have said now for more than years, fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints."

The hacker's claim comes only days after the iPhone 5s was made available to the general public. On its website, Apple says that the biometric technology provides "a very high level of security," but speaking to the BBC, chief scientist at German think tank SRLabs Karsten Nohl disagrees.

"It would have been incredible if Apple had managed to do something the rest of the biometrics industry has failed to achieve after decades of trying, so I'm not surprised it was hacked after just one day.

Claiming this system offers a high level of security is just ridiculous."

We have reached out to Apple and will update if we hear back.

Via: BBC

Related:

Image credit: Apple

— By on September 22, 2013, 10:59 PM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure