Why you shouldn't be worried about the iPhone fingerprint hack

Credit: machash

Over the weekend, news broke that the fancy biometric fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S had been hacked. Understandably, this caused a bit of turmoil across the web. After all, the brand-spanking-new iPhone is supposed to have technology that prevents all manner of tampering — including cutting someone's finger off to unlock their phone. Turns out that wasn't quite the case.

So here's what actually went down: yes, there is a way to fool the iPhone 5S, but it's not exactly something that your run-of-the-mill pickpocket will be able to easily take advantage of. First, you'll need to get a copy of its owner's fingerprint — dusting the phone itself for prints CSI-style usually works. Then you'll need to take an HD scan of the fingerprint and save it to your hard drive. Once you have a high-quality scan of a solid print saved, you'll need to print out a realistic copy of the fingerprint in 3D ink. From that, you'll have to make a thick, latex mock-up of the print.

The good news here is that even if a phone thief had the gear forge a fingerprint, it would likely take them longer to put the fake together than it would for you to remotely lock the phone. The only people at significant risk here are people in positions high-profile enough for their phones to be targeted by corporate or governmental espionage — you know who you are, and you've been warned. Check out the video below to see a working model of one of these fake prints in action.

Youtube, via GigaOM

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