“The venerable Chaos Computer Club hacker collective claims to have bypassed Apple’s much-vaunted TouchID biometric security mechanism, as used in the new iPhone 5s,” David Meyer reports for GigaOM.

“This isn’t a hardcore technological hack so much as a good old-fashioned fake fingerprint technique. You find the iPhone owner’s print somewhere (the device itself may carry a few on its glossy surfaces), put some powder on it to make it more visible, then photograph or scan it at high resolution. Clean up the reversed image, print it at high resolution using thick ink, then use that to make a thin latex dummy, which you can put on your finger and use to unlock the iPhone,” Meyer reports. “CCC spokesman Dirk Engling suggested that Apple may have allowed the flaw when trying to balance security and ease of use. ‘In the end you have to shift the balance to more comfort, and that’s apparently what Apple did,’ he said. ‘Out in the field, people would have problems unlocking their iPhones if they were to be too strict. This is a basic problem of biometrics.'”

iPhone 5s'  ID fingerprint identity sensor

iPhone 5s’ ID fingerprint identity sensor

“If it’s pickpocketing you’re worried about, then bear in mind that your iPhone is probably covered in your fingerprints. That said, making a fake print of the quality we’re talking about here is not trivial and it also takes a while, making it likely that the owner would just remotely wipe the device before anything can be accessed,” Meyer reports. “If it’s muggers or overzealous law enforcement or border agents that you’re thinking about, then this ‘hack’ doesn’t make a blind bit of difference. Merely having a biometric access mechanism makes it possible to grab your hand and use it to unlock the phone… The only real worry here relates to a more targeted attack, perhaps by a private investigator who’s after some juicy corporate secrets.”

Read more in the full article here.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader "Fred Mertz" for the heads up.]

[Thanks to MacDailyNews readers too numerous to mention individually for the heads up.]

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