Personal security: Apple iPhone 5s unlocked using nipples

Video from Japan is the latest in a string of bizarre uses of Touch ID including a cat's paw and a toe

James Vincent
Tuesday 24 September 2013 10:29

Out of all of the features introduced by Apple’s new iPhone 5s, it’s the Touch ID fingerprint sensor that has got the most attention.

And despite the serious implications that Apple-led biometrics have for the security industry, what users have really been enjoying is the sensors open-ness to accepting ‘fingerprints’ of various kinds.

The latest Touch ID hack suggests that the 5s can even be taught to recognise nipples. The video (above) comes from Japanese news sites Rocket News and shows a man registering the impression of his nipple with the handset and successfully unlocking the device with it. A second individual fails to unlock the device with his unregistered nipple.

These sorts of unlocks are becoming a subgenre in their own right: there’s been video examples using a cat’s paw; one with a dog’s paw and another from the same Japanese group using a toe.

Although these would certainly be unusual ways to secure your new iPhone, they don’t represent a breach of security as in each case the smartphone is seen rejecting the same body parts from other people.

However, there might be more serious implications for Apple with the news that the Chaos Computer Club, a respected hacker group from Germany, has cracked Touch ID by lifting fingerprints left on a glass bottle, photographing this trace with a high resolution camera and using this file to print a duplicate latex finger.

Apple has yet to issue any response to the news and it’s uncertain how seriously they will take this apparent security breach. Although fingerprint authorization can be duped by collecting copies of an individual's prints, Touch ID will still offer a legitimate deterrent to thieves. This remains true whether users choose to secure their smartphone with their fingerprint or their nipple.

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