Hackers Learned How to Trick the Fingerprint Censor on the New iPhone

The New iPhone 5's Fingerprint Scanner

The New iPhone 5’s Fingerprint Scanner

Look, we’re as excited about the new iPhone 5 as the rest of you. It brings us no joy to alert you about potential security vulnerabilities in a much-anticipated gadget, but CNET is reporting about a hack on the new iPhone, and we thought you should know about it. You see? It’s CNET’s fault.

Yes, some hackers in Germany, known as the Chaos Computer Club, claimed to have figured out how to trick the new iPhone 5’s fingerprint scanner, and yes, now they’ve uploaded a video proving that they can back up their claims. The good news is that the process is incredibly sophisticated, and likely something your average iPhone thief won’t be able to replicate.

The video, titled “Faking the Touch-ID fingerprint sensor”, a hacker called Starbug walks us through the lengthy procedure, starting at “Scanning fingerprint from display”, moving on to “Inverting and mirroring to b/w image”. Next, we get to “Printing to tracing paper” (and we’d like to pause and note that we’re already far removed from the writer’s skill set at this point), which leads to “Exposing print to a PCB”, which, of course, leads to “Developing and etching the PCB”…

You know what? We’re just going to jump to the end at this point; they end up creating a dummy print, getting the iPhone 5 to recognize the dummy print, then getting the iPhone 5 to recognize the finger that had originally used the dummy print. Sorry for the spoilers, but we think the article’s title gave it all away anyway. You can watch the whole process for yourself below.

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