360° Coverage : Hacking Competition Started for Apple’s Fingerprint Sensor

Hacking Competition Started for Apple’s Fingerprint Sensor

A crowd-sourced reward upwards of $4,000 is up for grabs to the one clever enough to hack Apple’s new fingerprint sensor. Independent security researchers are determined to prove the highly publicized sensor can be hacked.

Sep 23 2013, 5:40pm CDT | by

Hacking Competition Started for Apple’s Fingerprint Sensor
Photo Credit: Getty Images

While many remain impressed by the fingerprint sensor which serves as one of the cool features of the iPhone 5S, many security experts have scoffed that it is a big security risk, saying it can be hacked.

It was on Twitter where the contest got its start, headed off by Nick DePetrillo, a security researcher whose specialty is in uncovering mobile device hardware vulnerabilities. The contest is in response to a heated debate over the safety of the fingerprint scanner. The argument has been on-going ever since Apple announced its plans to release the very first ever biometric sensor intended for the mass-market.

DePetrillo does not concur with the position that a clean fingerprint can be taken from any surface and used to hack the sensor. Nevertheless, he is well prepared to pay his portion of the bounty to the hack-successful party. He confesses that there is no such thing as anything being 100 percent hack-proof, citing a well-cherished security tenant.

Robert David Graham was asked by DePetrillo to establish a website, IsTouchIDHackedYet.com, and seed the reward with $100. As of current, the funds have already topped $4,300. That amount is sure to more than double quickly, as Arturas Rosenbacker announced his intentions to add $10,000 to the loot.

The plan is to lure in all the security researchers that Apple left out of their team. The goal is to crack the fingerprint sensor that the company paid top dollar for the brightest in the field to make near impossible to hack. They want to see if Apple’s big investment really does pay off.

This hack contest is no new concept. Independent researchers used what is called ‘bug-bounties’ to demonstrate vulnerabilities, embarrassing big tech companies like Microsoft, so that they would be forced to improve the security of their products.


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/25" rel="author">Bijon Kumar Pramanik</a>
Bijon Kumar Pramanik is an experienced technology writer working since years in the consumer electronics field.


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