iPhone fingerprint technology hacked, German group says

Sep 23, 2013 | News

A group of German hackers claim they’re able to break the iPhone 5s fingerprint lock. SOURCE: ZDNET

By: Alessandra Micieli & Raquelle Collins

Hackers in Germany say they have found away to crack the iPhone 5s Touch ID fingerprint technology after just three days of being on the market.

Chaos Computer Club, located in Germany, said they have “hacked” the new feature.

“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. This demonstrates – again – that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as access control method and should be avoided,” said Chaos Computer Club in a statement.

George Paravantes, program coordinator of the multimedia design and development program at Humber College, is no stranger to innovative designs on mobile devices.

He has worked with Blackberry on the BB10, as well as working at Nokia. Paravantes said the fingerprinting technology can be a gateway to other things.

“To me, it’s a prelude to mobile payment,” said Paravantes. “ I think Apple’s laying the groundwork down for a mobile payment system and this is just the first piece of the puzzle.”

Paravantes said that the fingerprint ID is an interesting feature to add to the phone, and it is a step forward. He also questions what the implications are, since the device is storing a human fingerprint.

“I think it opens up a new debate, because using fingerprinting as a security feature has been around forever,” said Paravantes.

First-year business admin students at Humber College and iPhone users Asha Shiddo, 19, and Sophia Haniff, 18, said they trust Apple because the company is committed to ensuring top-of-the line technology to their customers.

“They’re very innovative and always ahead,” said Shiddo.

“It’s very generic, and easy to use,” said Haniff.

‘Cat and mouse’ game with hackers

“It’s always a cat and mouse game with technology; it’s just a matter of keeping ahead of the people who are trying to hack it, so you can make sure it’s secure,” Paravantes told Humber News.

Although Shiddo and Haniff both have an iPhone 4s, they are still intrigued by the newest models of the mobile device.

“It’s faster and has the new fingerprint option, plus they’re really good at marketing,” said Shiddo. “They want you to have the latest and best thing.”

Since the news of the hack has broken out, Shiddo said it makes her rethink the new technology.

“Because it’s your fingertip, you’d think you would feel safer,” said Shiddo. “It’s your privacy,” she said, indicating that the hack is a personal thread of invasion.

The idea of giving out a personal fingerprint may be a foreign idea to some people. But, Paravantes predicts the fingerprinting technology is about to become mainstream.