What iPhone Touch ID? Bah, humbug.
If there’s a will, there’s got to be a way, — at least, that’s how the old proverb suggests. One report, while mind-blowing — and a challenge of accuracy about the word “security” in our modern lexicon — involves an elaborate hacking scheme by a juvenile secret agent.
According to a BGR report, 6-year-old Ashlynd Howell, while likely not old enough to own her own smartphone without a plethora of parental controls, was savvy enough to defeat her mom’s built-in fingerprint security feature.
The Little Rock, Arkansas, resident managed charge $250 worth of Pokemon gifts to her mom’s Amazon account. Bethany Howell was asleep on the sofa at the time her daughter racked up purchases for her idea of a Christmas.
— PokemonVideoNews (@PokemonVideoNew) December 28, 2016
When the mom woke up from her nap, she felt invigorated. She would soon learn that her bank account was leaner, thanks to her daughter accessing her phone using the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone device.
The girl’s mom noticed over a dozen email confirmations from Amazon and immediately thought her account was hacked. In a sense, it was, but she soon learned that her daughter was behind the stunt.
The smartphone giant’s website says the Apple iPhone Touch ID technology is used to safeguard your personal information against intrusions, and at a minimum, everyone should use some form of passcode or feature.
“Touch ID is a seamless way to use your fingerprint as a passcode. Your fingerprint is one of the best passcodes in the world. It’s always with you, and no two are exactly alike. With just a touch of your device’s Home button, the Touch ID sensor quickly reads your fingerprint and automatically unlocks your phone. You can even use it to authorize purchases from the iTunes Store, App Store, and iBooks Store, and Apple Pay.”
Ashlynd confessed to the deed and took pride in her ability to trick her mother using a supposed “secure” phone. If there’s any consolation, the industrious girl assured her mother that the packages were being shipped to their address.
“No, Mommy, I was shopping. But don’t worry — everything that I ordered is coming straight to the house.”
Howell tried to return the items to preserve her belief in Santa Claus. The woman reasoned that she had to tell her daughter the gifts were coming from the jolly old St. Nicholas.
— TechEBlog (@techeblog) December 27, 2016
Lucky for the mother, her pint-size bundle of joy didn’t siphon all the funds out of her bank account and she was able to determine who was behind the tomfoolery.
Sources said it’s not the first time the retail juggernaut got into hot water for similar incidents. Reportedly, the Federal Trade Commission sanctioned the company for not doing enough to guard against in-app purchases made by kids. Phone Arena had an interesting take on this story.
“You might think that having Touch ID or any fingerprint scanner on your phone would be enough to give you protection from someone ordering products on your dime without your knowledge. But you should never underestimate the mind of a child who is sharp as a tack, and who won’t let anything stop her from buying Pokémon related products, not even a fingerprint scanner.”
It’s been suggested that Apple and other smartphone makers should make retina scanning a standard security feature to supplement Touch ID. However, as stated above, where a will exists, there’s bound to be a way. One only has to think about the population of people who sleep with their eyes open.
[Featured Image by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images]