German hackers crack iPhone fingerprint sensor

German hacker group Chaos Computing Club has claimed to have managed to bypass the fingerprint authorisation built into the new iPhone 5s.

A customer configures the fingerprint scanner technology built into iPhone 5S at an Apple store in Wangfujing shopping district in Beijing on Friday when Apple released the iPhone 5S and 5C models. (AP photo)

"We hope this eliminates the remaining illusions that people have about biometric security," said Frank Rieger, a spokesman for Chaos Computing Club, or CCC, Germany's oldest and one of the world's largest hacker organisations.

"It is plain stupid to use something that you can't change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token." 

If the claim proves to be true, it will be a major embarrassment to Apple, which hyped the fingerprint sensor as one of the new model's most important changes from the old iPhone 5.

CCC said on its website that its biometrics hacking team had successfully bypassed iPhone 5s’ biometric security system, called TouchID, using "easy everyday means." 

The group explained that it got around the system by using a high resolution photograph of a fingerprint, and posted a video on its website to show how it was done.

A CCC hacker using the nickname Starbug said: “Fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifted prints." 

Related search: Apple, TouchID, German hackers, Chaos Computing Club, fingerprint authorisation, iPhone 5s

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Writer: Bangkok Post and Bloomberg