Vulnerabilities / Threats
9/23/2013
12:18 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Apple iPhone 5s Fooled By Fake Finger

Chaos Computer Club hackers bypass the fingerprint sensor in Apple's iPhone 5s, may qualify for Touch ID hack bounty.

Apple iOS 7: Visual Tour
Apple iOS 7: Visual Tour
(click image for larger view)
Hackers from the Chaos Computer Club have shown that the fingerprint scanner in Apple's iPhone 5s can be fooled by an artificial fingerprint made using readily available materials.

The group has posted a video on YouTube that demonstrates the effectiveness of their technique.

In a statement on the group's website, CCC spokesman Frank Rieger warns that fingerprint biometric technology is insecure and unwise as a means of authentication. "It is plain stupid to use something that you can't change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token," he said. "The public should no longer be fooled by the biometrics industry with false security claims. Biometrics is fundamentally a technology designed for oppression and control, not for securing everyday device access."

[ If Tim Cook says it, does that make it true? Read Apple CEO Cook: We Don't Do Junk. ]

Apple did not respond to a request for comment. Last week, in an apparent attempt to address privacy and security concerns, an Apple spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that the Touch ID system does not store fingerprint images.

Fingerprint scanning systems have a long history of vulnerability to hacking. Working with a German TV show in 2007, the CCC demonstrated that fingerprint authentication technology used by a German supermarket could be duped. The group says that what differentiates Apple's technology from other fingerprint scanners is a higher resolution sensor.

Bypassing Touch ID involves photographing a fingerprint at 2400 dpi resolution, cleaning the image up and then laser printing it at 1200 dpi on a transparent sheet using a heavy toner setting. To the resulting relief pattern, either wood glue or pink latex milk is applied, which hardens to form the surface of the fake fingerprint. The hardened substance is then lifted from the transparent sheet, breathed on for moisture and applied to the iPhone Touch ID scanner to unlock the device.

The CCC posted instructions about how to create a fake fingerprint back in 2004. In the past decade, the risks of fingerprint spoofing have been widely covered in academic research. In 2006, researchers from Washington & Jefferson College reported, "biometric fingerprint scanners can easily be spoofed with Play-doh, gummy bears and other household materials." In 2002, Yokohama National University researchers reported, "artificial fingers that are easily made of cheap and readily available gelatin were accepted by extremely high rates by particular fingerprint devices with optical or capacitive sensors."

Evidently, this is still the case with Apple's technology, though the security community has yet to evaluate the hack. Last week, security researchers Robert Graham and Nick DePedrillo established a crowdsourced bounty program, through the website IsTouchIDHackedYet.com, to reward the first person or group to break Apple's Touch ID system. As of Sunday evening, the website indicated that the CCC's hack may qualify for the bounty, the amount of which remains in question due to conditions placed on a pledge of $10,000 committed by venture capitalist Arturas Rosenbacher.

Learn more about smartphone security and related topics by attending the Interop conference track on Mobility in New York from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Oldest First  |  Newest First  |  Threaded View
dtkerns
50%
50%
dtkerns,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2013 | 4:49:37 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s Fooled By Fake Finger
They are absolutely right, what we need is an RFID chip implanted in our right-hand or forehead.
feskridge
50%
50%
feskridge,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/23/2013 | 9:47:17 PM
re: Apple iPhone 5s Fooled By Fake Finger
According to the movies, another way to spoof fingerprint security is to find an authorized person, kill them, cut off their finger, and then use that. This technique also works with eye scanners. You just need to remove the head and hold it up to the scanner. This stuff is really so simple!
Thomas Claburn
50%
50%
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
9/24/2013 | 4:03:01 AM
re: Apple iPhone 5s Fooled By Fake Finger
Forcing someone's hand, so to speak, is a legitimate concern for those who believe they should not have to divulge passwords on demand to authorities.
framework4
50%
50%
framework4,
User Rank: Apprentice
9/24/2013 | 10:34:10 AM
re: Apple iPhone 5s Fooled By Fake Finger
Clearly these folks do not understand. The goal is to have usable security that will stop someone accessing the phone if it is lost or stolen by a random thief. I currently use a 4 digit code, my anniversary, easily defeated. For me fingerprints will be a huge step up. It is like those folks who expose "The Club" by showing how easy it is to defeat by cutting the steering wheel. So what? I still use "The Club" on my car because the average thief is not wandering around with a hacksaw. Likewise the average thief is NOT going to have a copy of my fingerprint.
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win a Starbucks Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: This comment is waiting for review by our moderators.
Current Issue
Security Operations and IT Operations: Finding the Path to Collaboration
A wide gulf has emerged between SOC and NOC teams that's keeping both of them from assuring the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of IT systems. Here's how experts think it should be bridged.
Flash Poll
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
New Best Practices for Secure App Development
The transition from DevOps to SecDevOps is combining with the move toward cloud computing to create new challenges - and new opportunities - for the information security team. Download this report, to learn about the new best practices for secure application development.
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2017-0290
Published: 2017-05-09
NScript in mpengine in Microsoft Malware Protection Engine with Engine Version before 1.1.13704.0, as used in Windows Defender and other products, allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service (type confusion and application crash) via crafted JavaScript code within ...

CVE-2016-10369
Published: 2017-05-08
unixsocket.c in lxterminal through 0.3.0 insecurely uses /tmp for a socket file, allowing a local user to cause a denial of service (preventing terminal launch), or possibly have other impact (bypassing terminal access control).

CVE-2016-8202
Published: 2017-05-08
A privilege escalation vulnerability in Brocade Fibre Channel SAN products running Brocade Fabric OS (FOS) releases earlier than v7.4.1d and v8.0.1b could allow an authenticated attacker to elevate the privileges of user accounts accessing the system via command line interface. With affected version...

CVE-2016-8209
Published: 2017-05-08
Improper checks for unusual or exceptional conditions in Brocade NetIron 05.8.00 and later releases up to and including 06.1.00, when the Management Module is continuously scanned on port 22, may allow attackers to cause a denial of service (crash and reload) of the management module.

CVE-2017-0890
Published: 2017-05-08
Nextcloud Server before 11.0.3 is vulnerable to an inadequate escaping leading to a XSS vulnerability in the search module. To be exploitable a user has to write or paste malicious content into the search dialogue.

Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
In past years, security researchers have discovered ways to hack cars, medical devices, automated teller machines, and many other targets. Dark Reading Executive Editor Kelly Jackson Higgins hosts researcher Samy Kamkar and Levi Gundert, vice president of threat intelligence at Recorded Future, to discuss some of 2016's most unusual and creative hacks by white hats, and what these new vulnerabilities might mean for the coming year.