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.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileiosapplicationstelecommunicationMobile OSesChaos Computer Club

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

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Bitdefender 2019

This Holiday Season, protect yourself and your loved ones with the best. Buy now for Holiday Savings!

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?