Touch ID has been hailed as a huge step forward in security authentication for a variety of uses. Apple popularized the technique with its iPhone 5 series, and now most of its customers can't live without it.
But now the Chaos Computer Club, Europe's largest association of hackers, claim they can hack your fingerprints and they don't even need a physical object that you touch to do so.
Their weapon of choice? Photographs.
Using VeriFinger extraction software and multiple images of German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen's thumbprint, hacker Jan Krissler (aka Starbug) showed how he was able to pull it off at the 31st annual club convention, Venture Beat reports.
He added that the hack can indeed fool fingerprint ID security systems.
Still, if you're getting ready to throw out your Touch ID phones as a result of this information, it may be advisable to wait.
VB's Emil Protalinski explains.
"Even if reproducing a fingerprint was a viable method for breaking into a system, be it a smartphone or a high-security vault, this news doesn't mean that fingerprints are suddenly useless. Perfect security measures do not exist, and fingerprints definitely still have their place. They can still be more secure than PIN codes in many cases, and can always be used in conjunction with them or other types of passwords for multiple layers of security."Still, as a result of the new development, Krissler suggests that world leaders "start wearing gloves" as an alternate method of keeping their identity secure.
The same might go for all of us, though not every commenter on the Gizmodo board was buying the significance. This one from Barry Wombleton summed up the "why you shouldn't worry" argument best.
"To take the photo of ONE print is hard enough, but all 10? You don't ever know which digit is being used to unlock a device or bypass a security check point.... If you're wearing gloves in public or keep your palm side out of sight (i.e. palms down, hands in pockets, hands partially closed, etc.) then hacking the correct print becomes a much harder goal to obtain.... Starbug was only able to personally take ONE photo of the minister's thumb. He then had to acquire several more photos to complete the hack. How many do you need? So only taking one clear shot won't do it."What do you think this means for the Touch ID security systems, readers? End of the line or nothing to concern yourself with?
[Image via 9 to 5 Mac]