German Group Trick Apple’s Fingerprint Sensor

Posted by: Maxine Brimmer (4 years ago)

Though you might not have heard of them, the Chaos Computer Club is Europe’s largest association of hacker, largely hailing from Germany and other German-speaking countries. Now sources from within the group claim that the hackers have been able to get the better of the iPhone 5s’s Touch ID fingerprint scanner.

Featuring the now-famous Touch ID fingerprint scanner, the iPhone 5s only became available to the public on September 20th, and yet it seems that the weekend was all the Chaos Computer Club’s members needed to compromise the system. Surprisingly enough, there’s very little hacking involved with the Chaos Computer Club’s solution, which relies more on some clever external trickery.

Last week, website IsTouchIDHackedYet.Com put a bounty on the head of the iPhone fingerprint scanner, with users pledging donations to whoever could come up with a way to fool Touch ID’s sensor. At present the prize consists of various offerings of alcohol, bitcoins, and thousands of dollars. It is unclear is Chaos Computer Club’s hackers will be able to collect their prize, since they have not technically hacked the security technology so much as fooled the sensors.

Chaos Computer Club’s method of attacking Touch ID involves taking a photograph of a user’s fingerprint at 2400 dpi resolution before inverting the image and laser printing it as 1200 dpi. The fingerprint pattern is then lifted off the printed image with latex milk and applied to the surface of the Touch ID sensor. Whilst they are not quite the hacking-heavy security crack that some might have hoped for, Chaos Computer Club’s methods certainly are innovative. 

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