Security researcher: Thieves may chop off iPhone 5s owners’ fingertips to gain access

“Thieves have mutilated victims to gain access to phones equipped with a fingerprint reader, an expert has warned,” Katie Hodge reports for The Independent.

On Tuesday, “Apple launched its iPhone 5S, which includes the Touch ID feature, an integrated sensor on the device’s home button that reads your fingerprint in order to unlock your phone,” Hodge reports. “Marc Rogers said the sensors can provide a convenient way to unlock gadgets while also boosting security.”

Hodge reports, “But they have led criminals to commit increasingly brutal robberies and even chop off phone-owners’ fingertips, the chief researcher at mobile security firm Lookout claimed. ‘Thieves in some regions have worked out that you can force a victim to unlock a secured device, and in some extreme cases have also mutilated victims in order to steal their fingerprint.'”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: FUDtastic!

(We were waiting for this one. We’re surprised the good ol’ amputation threat FUD took this long.)

Related articles:
Apple’s iPhone 5S with biometric identification: Big Brother’s dream? – September 11, 2013
iPhone 5s: Once again Apple leaps ahead with Touch ID fingerprint recognition; a big enterprise win for Apple – September 10, 2013
Apple reveals flagship iPhone 5s with Touch ID, the world’s first and only 64-bit smartphone – September 10, 2013

87 Comments

      1. Its worse than that: the phrasing infers that there’s already been victims from a yet-to-be-released product:

        ““But they have led criminals to… chop off phone-owners’ fingertips…”

        But okay, I’ll play dumb: since the iPhone 5S hasn’t shipped, exactly what cellphones have already been released with fingerprint readers? And where were are these police reports of said alleged crimes filed?

        -hh

    1. The criminal (who is in a position to chop off my fingers) can just force me to touch the iPhone button, then turn off the security. Some expert got paid to do this “research”?

      1. Yes, let’s play the game where we make basic daily life decisions based on how extreme we can get in underestimating or overestimating the intelligence of the common thief.

        Do you think all thieves are smart enough to know you do not have a few million in cash stashed in the trunk of your car? Do you commute on horseback just in case?

    1. … if properly warmed and moistened. Of course, even THAT offers a limited life-span for use of the stolen device. Then there’s the question of selling the stolen technology … you going to hand over the increasingly desiccated finger with the “used” iPhone?
      Science Fiction had this answer decades ago. 😉

    1. Seriously BLN ? Have you actually got ios7 or are just going by screenshots. I was a bit err, umm about the design themes but in the flesh it’s a lot nicer. I was given the last iteration by a friend and after a day or so I was so used to it that iOS6 now looks old.

      Normally I look forward to your comments but wait until it ships before condemning it. 9

      BTW, as for your other hobyhorse, bigger screens, I suggest looking to the iPhone 6 in the near future ( I’m guessing April )

      1. Grizz, in actuality, a small minority of people prefer the oversized phone to a more convenient form factor.
        The primary market for the bigboy phones is the newly middle aged (that are still in denial about their stage in life and newly acquired ocular disfunction and wearing glasses to correct that) but they don’t make enough of a market slice. So I guess the watchword is if you want to pretend that you aren’t getting older and can still see like you did at 25 buy a ‘roid bigboy phone, because it’s is unlikely apple is going to produce one (so you wait with all the people expecting apple to make a “big box” form factor of the Mac Mini, but it just ‘aint likely to happen)
        The android phones are big not because they want to be, but rather because they have to be. Android is not particularly efficient and so needs big batteries to have decent runtime (until they went oversized androids had dismal runtimes and most users would disable 3G, wifi, bluetooth, etc. to attempt to get a average days use out of the phone)

          1. You can’t take the specific (what you want) and extrapolate that to a general case.

            The real world data just doesn’t back up your preference (nor BLN’s.) Most (the vast majority) of people choose the compact form factor (like the iPhone) over the oversized screen screen phones. It just isn’t a problem, for most people, to see the screen.

    2. nope – the eyeball gouging will come in 5 years when AAPL puts in the retina scans as a security feature

      but seriously, how did a clown from The Independent beat out The Onion on a scoop like this?

    3. yo left nut – did some one cut off you right nut and therefore make you into a total lame ass – or were you just born a lame ass – ha

      by the way everyone – Ballmer’s left nut – is a troll – have at him!

  1. Or one could simply threaten (and subsequently proceed) to chop off a user’s fingers (or arm, toe, foot, etc – pick one) unless he/she reveals his/her password.

    The writers’s point being…?

    FUD, indeed.

      1. “… you have completely ignored half of the population.”

        They’d have to make the whole screen a reader if it could be used on a pussy. Have you ever actually seen one; I mean in person?

            1. You just told a poster what to say and how to behave.

              Possible rules are
              – NO-ONE should tell others how to behave — which would then apply to your post, so your post is ridiculous.
              – EVERYONE can tell others how to behave — in which case your post is ridiculous.

      2. There’s nothing crass or vulgar about the word “penis” or that comment. Maybe it is in the church you obviously frequent too often.
        So besides being ignorant and a prude, you can’t take what is obviously a joke !

        1. So, you are at a business meeting and your phone rings . . . Although it might seem funny, it would be crass and vulgar to use the ‘funny’ method of verification previously described.

          We can aspire to higher minded humor than second grade school potty ‘jokes’.

          1. OMFG. You’re taking that comment way too seriously.You think he REALLY meant it ? Yeah whipping it out in public would be rude, but FCOL its not he same thing at all as making a joke about a penis reader. Aspire to whatever you want. Humor is subjective but at least try to realize when its a joke and when someone REALLY means it.

  2. Won’t be an issue as I’m going to chop off my fingers first as a means of preventing such brutality and detriment to iPhone theft and gaining access to my all important address book contacts, etc.

  3. Yet another way in which Apple is doomed. How happy must the lesser gods be—you know, the ones who contemptuously shape public opinion through the adroit manipulation of misinformation. May they rot in Hell.

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