Apple’s Touch ID Is Hilariously Useless

09.23.13 5 years ago 11 Comments
Not pictured: A useful security feature.

Not pictured: A useful security feature.

The iPhone 5S includes a fancy new biometric feature, Touch ID. You scan your fingerprint to unlock your phone, and also accidentally violate your Constitutional rights. Which would be a brilliant security feature, if it weren’t laughably easy to get around.

You’ve probably seen some dude unlocking his iPhone with his nipples by now, but if not, here he is! Don’t worry, it’s work-safe.

Before you ask, I did an informal poll of iPhone 5S users I know. Yes, everybody’s favorite organ will also work. What’s kind of sad is that of the five guys I asked, I didn’t have to prompt any of them to do it because they’d all already tried it. So, hey, anybody want a new friend?

As amusing as all this body part scanning can be, it is kind of a problem in the sense that this is supposed to be a security feature and generally if a scanner is poor enough to mistake the third leg as a finger, it’s poor enough to be easily spoofed. But of course when it comes down to it, surely Apple’s security protocols can’t be fooled with, oh, say, a photo of a fingerprint?

The biometrics hacking team of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has successfully bypassed the biometric security of Apple’s TouchID using easy everyday means. A fingerprint of the phone user, photographed from a glass surface, was enough to create a fake finger that could unlock an iPhone 5s secured with TouchID. This demonstrates – again – that fingerprint biometrics is unsuitable as access control method and should be avoided.

In short, Apple’s Touch ID is little more than a cute gimmick to show off to friends at parties. But hey, try the crotch-scan. That’s definitely going to be a hit.

(Image courtesy of randychiu on Flickr)

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