fingerprint sensor Stories July 21, 2015

Touch ID built into iPhone display one step closer as third-party company announces new tech

The possibility of Apple embedding the Home button into the display of a future iPhone model got a step closer today as a third-party company announced technology that allows fingerprints to be read through Gorilla Glass.

TNW reports that Sonavation has developed ultrasonic fingerprint sensors capable of 3D scanning from beneath the Gorilla Glass Apple uses for its iPhone displays.

Though details on how it will work are sparse, Sonovation says its sensors are “capable of capturing fingerprint data into the ridges and valleys.” It also says 3D scanning can take place if a finger is wet, dirty or oily — all without compromising accuracy.

There’s nothing to suggest any link between Apple and Sonavation – this is merely an indication that the type of technology required to replace a physical Home button with an embedded one is already out there. A sketchy report last month suggested that Apple is working on this type of technology.

Don’t look for this in the iPhone 6S, though. While a recent leak confirmed our report that the new iPhone would get Force Touch, it also revealed that the external appearance of the phone will be almost identical to the iPhone 6.

Concept image: Martin Hajek for Computer Bild

fingerprint sensor Stories October 2, 2013

With the announcement of the new iPads approaching later this month, rumors surrounding the new full-sized iPad have centered around a thinner, lighter design, but it’s been unclear if the new tablet will sport the Touch ID fingerprint authentication system from the iPhone 5s. I’ve heard that Apple’s most recent internal next-generation iPad prototypes have lacked Touch ID sensors, so it’s unclear if it will make the cut for this year. There are a few reasons why Touch ID wouldn’t make sense on an iPad this year:

  • Exclusivity to iPhone 5s could help with sales for Apple’s flagship phone. Notice the iPhone 5c doesn’t have it.
  • Supplies for Sapphire Crystal are obviously tight.
  • Touch ID would be better suited for an iPad capable of multiple users; is the OS even ready for that?

On the other hand, bringing Touch ID to the iPad this year would create consistency for Apple’s fall 2013 iOS Device line. Apple’s iPhone 5s internal test units did not gain Touch ID until late into testing, so there isn’t conclusive evidence right now for either direction…

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fingerprint sensor Stories September 25, 2013

The German hacker who successfully defeated Touch ID using a fingerprint lifted from the back of an iPhone has posted a video showing exactly how it was done.

While the hacker – who goes by the nickname Starbug – described the attack as “very straightforward and trivial,” he revealed in an email interview with arsTechnica that it required 30 hours of work using a scanner, high-res laserprinter and a printed circuit board etching kit.

It took me nearly 30 hours from unpacking the iPhone to a [bypass] that worked reliably. With better preparation it would have taken approximately half an hour. I spent significantly more time trying to find out information on the technical specification of the sensor than I actually spent bypassing it.

I was very disappointed, as I hoped to hack on it for a week or two. There was no challenge at all; the attack was very straightforward and trivial.

Should 5s owners worry that, now that the technique is known, it could be replicated in 30 mins? The answer is ‘it depends, but probably not’ …  expand full story

The best 4K & 5K displays for Mac

fingerprint sensor Stories September 19, 2013

More than $15k in rewards offered to crack Apple’s iPhone 5s TouchID fingerprint sensor

As noted by BusinessInsider, a number of security researchers and other hackers have come together to offer rewards to the first person that can “reliably and repeatedly break into an iPhone 5s” through bypassing the new TouchID fingerprint sensor feature. They aren’t looking for a software hack, however, but instead want hackers to break into the device by lifting prints, “like from a beer mug.”

It’s not exactly a legit contest, as the creators of the site are only claiming responsibility for their own bounty offers. Their bounties come out to around just $200 of the approximately $20k in pledges listed on the site.

In order to collect, you’ll have to have video proof of the process. The site’s creator explained in the “terms and conditions,” which is actually just a series of tweets:

All I ask is a video of the process from print, lift, reproduction and successful unlock with reproduced print. I’ll put money on this… Enroll print, Place it, lift it, reproduce it, use the reproduction to unlock the phone without being locked out… satisfactory video evidence of the print enrollment, lift, reproduction and successful application of the print without locking out will do.

While there’s no way of telling if most of those offering bounties will actually payout, the largest pledge comes from IOCapital for $10K:

https://twitter.com/Arturas/status/380748248589148161

Apple said at the introduction of the iPhone 5s that “all fingerprints will be encrypted, stored securely and never uploaded to iCloud or its own servers,” but there have been a few questions surrounding how Apple’s new TouchID fingerprint sensor works.  Earlier this month Apple addressed security concerns and noted some features to prevent hacking of the fingerprint sensor:

Only that passcode (not a finger) can unlock the phone if the phone is rebooted or hasn’t been unlocked for 48 hours. This feature is meant to block hackers from stalling for time as they try to find a way to circumvent the fingerprint scanner.

You can check out all of the bounties being offered and learn more through the istouchidhackedyet.com site. 

fingerprint sensor Stories September 17, 2013

Touch ID is far, far more important than most people have realised – the core message behind a Quora post by the CEO of a card payment service. We can expect to learn far more “in the next few months, and that’s likely to eventually include both Touch ID Macs and use of the fingerprint system for mobile payments.

In the torrent of the billions of words already written about Touch ID very, very few people have really understood just how revolutionary this really is.  Apple not only has developed one of the most accurate mass produced biometric security devices, they have also solved critical problems with how the data from this device will be encrypted, stored and secured.

Brian Roemmele, CEO of 1st American Card Service, said that Apple’s attempt to solve the problem of how to develop a truly secure access system goes all the way back to a patent application in 2008, but it was only through the A7 chip – specifically created by ARM with mobile payment security in mind – that the company finally had a gold-standard solution. And its applications will go far beyond iPhone unlock and iTunes purchases …  expand full story

fingerprint sensor Stories September 16, 2013

iPhone 5s schematic, click to enlarge. 5c below

Apple has updated it guidelines (PDF) for case manufacturers to include specific requirements and schematics for the iPhone 5s and 5c. As expected, the 5s schematics are similar to the iPhone 5 since the outer shell is largely unchanged.

The 5c design is more distinct from the 5, because while the internal layout is nearly identical, the exterior plastic casing is very different. See below for the 5c’s schematics.

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