Hacker video shows how to thwart Apple’s Touch ID
by Lance Whitney, m.cnet.com
September 25th 2013
One of the hackers who recently tricked Apple’s fingerprint sensor now has a video out showing just how he does it.
Earlier this week, a group of hackers in Germany, known as the Chaos Computer Club, took credit for bypassing the biometric security on the Touch ID fingerprint scanner. That hack was accomplished by scanning someone’s fingerprint and ultimately using that to gain access to that person’s iPhone 5S.
Posted on Vimeo by one of the hackers known as Starbug, the video takes us through the entire process from the initial scan to the actual fingerprint trickery. The hacker scans an iPhone 5S that already has someone’s fingerprint. He then tweaks the scan to perfect the image of the fingerprint.
The scan is printed to paper and then to a circuit board, which undergoes a chemical bath. A dummy print eventually emerges, which is used to fool the security of the Touch ID, thus giving the hacker entry into the iPhone.
Starbug told Ars Technica that the hack posed no challenge. He said he expected the process to take a week or two. Instead, it chewed up around 30 hours from start to finish. With better preparation, he claims it would’ve taken only half an hour.
Despite Starbug’s boasts, the procedure shown in the video seems exact and intricate, requiring manipulated scans, chemical baths, and printed circuit boards. And through it all, the hacker would need to hang onto your iPhone 5S. A process that can mimic your fingerprint certainly raises alarm bells, but this particular hack isn’t something your average iPhone thief would be able to pull off.