‘Fake Finger’ Technique Bypasses Apple’s Touch ID Feature

Apple's iPhone 5S | Official Website

Apple’s iPhone 5S | Official Website

A German hacker group called Chaos Computer Club claims that they were able to bypass iPhone 5S’ Touch ID sensor. Based on their detailed walkthrough, the sensor hardware is, in effect, a higher resolution of existing technologies. Simply put, the feature can be bypassed using common, although refined, fingerprint lifting techniques. CCC hacker Starbug also stated:

In reality, Apple’s sensors has just a higher resolution compared to the sensors so far. So we only needed to ramp up the resolution of our fake. As we have said now for more than years, fingerprints should not be used to secure anything. You leave them everywhere, and it is far too easy to make fake fingers out of lifter prints.

CCC’s “Fake Finger” Technique

The process behind CCC’s Fake Finger technique is complex. The hacker will harvest a high-resolution 2400 dpi photo of a user’s fingerprint from a glass surface using graphite dust and a camera. Its resulting image will be cleaned up and inverted using photo editing software. The image will then be laser printed onto a transparent sheet at 1200 dpi.

A pink latex milk or white wood glue is laid over the printout to create the fake fingerprint. It will be allowed to set, and peeled off the transparency once cured. The fake fingerprint will be breathed on to produce a thin layer of moisture, and then it will be applied to a finger. As a result, the hacker will be able to have access to a Touch ID-protected device.

View on Apple’s Touch ID Sensor

However, it should be noted that Apple never claimed that the Touch ID system was a new technology. They didn’t say either that their sensor hardware is foolproof.

Production of a fake fingerprint comes with many caveats, and the hacker would also need to access the phone itself. There is also the Find My iPhone app, which lets stolen or lost devices to be wiped remotely. As a result, there’s a very small window for breaking into the iPhone 5S.


The Touch ID sensor hardware is the Cupertino-based company’s first attempt in including a biometric security method in its devices. As to what the extent of the technology’s inclusion, other than unlocking the handset and making iTunes purchase, will be is yet to be known.

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