German hackers say old technique can bypass Apple's Touch ID

A high-quality scan of a person's finger and a bit of latex -- an old technique -- can defeat Touch ID, the Chaos Computer Club claims

Apple's Touch ID authentication system can be defeated using a well-honed technique for creating a latex copy of someone's fingerprint, according to a German hacking group.

Apple's Touch ID authentication system can be defeated using a well-honed technique for creating a latex copy of someone's fingerprint, according to a German hacking group.

Apple's Touch ID authentication system can be defeated using a well-honed technique for creating a latex copy of someone's fingerprint, according to a German hacking group.

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC), which hosts an annual hacking conference and publishes computer security research, wrote on its blog that their experiment shows that fingerprint authentication "should be avoided."

Apple introduced Touch ID with its latest high-end iPhone 5S on Sept. 10. A person's "fingerprint is one of the best passcodes in the world. It's always with you, and no two are exactly alike," according to the company's website.

A hacker who goes by the name Starbug found that while Touch ID scans at a higher resolution, it can be beaten by increasing the resolution of the victim's fingerprint.

The CCC posted a video of what it wrote is a successful attack. Faking the print involves photographing the victim's fingerprint at 2400 DPI. The image is inverted and laser printed at 1200 DPI onto a transparent sheet using a "thick toner setting," according to the CCC.

Pink latex milk or white wood glue is smeared into the pattern created the toner. After it cures, a sliver of latex is lifted from the sheet, and blowing on it gives a bit of moisture like that on a human finger. It then can be placed on the iPhone's fingerprint sensor, the CCC wrote.

The technique is not new. "This process has been used with minor refinements and variations against the vast majority of fingerprint sensors on the market," the CCC wrote. Apple officials did not have an immediate comment on the CCC's findings.

Security experts have long warned that fingerprint authentication should not be solely relied upon, but rather used in concert with other technologies. Photos of fingerprints and molds have successfully bypassed fingerprint checks.

Touch ID is intended to reduce the number of times a person must enter a passcode, but Apple still requires a passcode in some circumstances, such as restarting the phone and if the devices hasn't been unlocked in two days.

Changes to the fingerprint settings also require a passcode, which can be configured to be longer and more complex than four digits.

Tags Chaos Computer ClubapplicationstelecommunicationsecurityiosMobile OSesmobile

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Shopping.com

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?