Hacker group circumvents Apple's Touch ID fingerprint scanner

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: September 23, 2013

Apple Touch ID fingerprint scanner bypass

One of the new features of the iPhone 5s is its Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which is meant to help make it quick and easy for a user to add a layer of security to their smartphone. Of course, as is likely to happen with any new smartphone security feature, some folks set out to try and get around the Touch ID system once the iPhone 5s hit store shelves. One group appears to have done just that using a copy of the device owner's fingerprint.

In a brief video posted to YouTube, the Chaos Computer Club demonstrates how it was able to set up Touch ID with the print of an index finger and then bypass the sensor using the middle finger from the same hand. Normally the middle finger wouldn't work to unlock the phone without first being set up with Touch ID, but the CCC explains that the system can be tricked by through a process that involves photographing the user's saved fingerprint at a resolution of 2400 dpi, printing it onto a latex sheet and then taking several other steps to make it more finger-like.

The CCC's blog post and accompanying video do appear to show that the group has successfully found a way to trick the iPhone 5s's Touch ID fingerprint scanner in a fairly quick manner. That said, it seems unlikely that most normal thieves would invest the time and effort to recreate the CCC's method of bypassing Touch ID. The group's work does serve as a reminder that, like many other forms of smartphone security, TouchID isn't a bulletproof way to keep no-gooders out of your device and that users should be smart about the information that they store on their devices.

Via MacRumors, Chaos Computer Club