Print options

September 19, 2013

Hackers Offer Reward for Beating iPhone Fingerprint Lock

by VOA News

Apple's new iPhone 5S is to be released Friday with a fingerprint scanner, and computer hackers are offering a bounty for the first person to pick the biometric lock.

Security researchers Nick Depetrillo and Robert David Graham launched the Is Touch ID Hacked Yet website to crowdfund a reward to hack the phone's fingerprint reader.  The reader is used to lock and unlock the phone, rather than a numerical code or password.

The successful hacker must produce a video proving they can lift a fingerprint from any surface, reproduce the print, and use it to unlock the owner of that fingerprint's iPhone 5s.  

Graham told the ZDNet business technology website the iPhone 5S fingerprint reader is an improvement over previous systems, and he and Depetrillo created the reward because they believe hacking it is harder than most people think.

The crowdfunding website is open to anyone who wants to join in offering money toward the reward.  

By midday Thursday, 50 people were offering about $3,000, plus various items and bottles of alcohol, in bounty.

The Apple system uses a capacitance scanner, rather than an optical device, to capture and record a fingerprint, which is coded and sent to Apple's encrypted microprocessor.