Germany’s CCC Hacks iPhone 5s TouchID

Categories: Biometrics, Blog, Mobile Devices

The Chaos Computer Club (CCC) of Germany, founded in 1981 and one of the most visible global hacking collectives, has published the details of their successful hack of the new iPhone 5s biometric security fingerprint scanner (a system called TouchID). A member of the club’s biometric hacking team, nicknamed “Starbug”, documented the successful hack in a video posted to Youtube. The method used to conduct the hack is not apparently different than the method Starbug has used in the past to defeat fingerprint readers, except that cracking the TouchID system requires making a fake latex fingerprint of a higher resolution that that used with other systems (however, at 1200 dpi it is still well within the capabilities of a desktop printer). The ease of the method described by the CCC should put a pin in the claims of revolutionary technological developments made so breathlessly in the press in recent days in regard to Apple’s new TouchID feature.

Frank Reiger, spokesperson for the group, stated that: “We hope that this finally puts to rest the illusions people have about fingerprint biometrics. It is plain stupid to use something that you can´t change and that you leave everywhere every day as a security token. The public should no longer be fooled by the biometrics industry with false security claims. Biometrics is fundamentally a technology designed for oppression and control, not for securing everyday device access.”

In 2008, the CCC acquired and then published 4000 copies of German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s fingerprint in an issue of their magazine. The fingerprint was included on a piece of film that would allow users to impersonate the Minister when using biometric devices. This was done in protest of the Minister’s public advocacy which led to the inclusion of fingerprint data on German passports.



Dan Gifford- MCySec Media Manager


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