No, You Can’t Use A Disembodied Finger To Get Past The iPhone 5S’ Fingerprint Scanner

    September 16, 2013
    Zach Walton
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The iPhone 5S was pretty much everything we thought it would be when it was revealed last week. All the rumors, including the fingerprint scanner, turned out to be true. That doesn’t make this kind of technology any less intriguing, however, and now people are starting to ask questions.

For example – can a thief chop off your finger and use it to access your iPhone 5S?

The above scenario was humorously spoofed by NMA, but it’s a serious concern. Are we going to start seeing people getting their fingers cut off alongside iPhone 5S thefts? It’s certainly a possibility as some thieves might not take the time to research the topic and find that Apple’s Touch ID system can’t be fooled so easily.

The Unofficial Apple Weblog reports that Apple’s Touch ID system can’t be fooled by the disembodied finger of its owner simply due to the fact that the scanner relies on two aspects of human anatomy that no longer function upon tissue death – electricity and radio waves.

For starters, the Touch ID sensor on the iPhone 5S is powered by a capacitive touch sensor. In other words, it’s powered by the small electric current that runs through every human. Upon being cut off from the main hand, a finger loses that small electric charge.

Now, what if an incredibly intelligent thief was somehow able to generate a small charge through your disembodied finger? At that point, the scheme still wouldn’t work because the Touch ID sensor uses radio waves to scan the living tissue beneath the top layer of skin to gain your fingerprint. Upon being cut off, the scan is completely useless as it can no longer find living tissue to scan.

So take heart future iPhone 5S owners – your data is safe even in the scenario of a thief chopping off your finger. As for any would be thieves, please don’t chop off fingers in a misinformed attempt to steal somebody’s iPhone 5S. You shouldn’t be stealing in the first place, but adding disembodiment to the mix is just not cool.

[Image: losSN/YouTube]

  • http://www.frogdice.com Michael Hartman

    1) Cut off the finger.

    2) Peel the skin.

    3) Put the skin on your finger.

    Nice try Apple.

  • Hmm

    Yeah, but then again, by scanning your own fingerprint, you just gave any employee at Apple access to it. I am convinced that a lot of the identity theft crimes are actually current employees that have access to databases at the corporate level.

    Bottom line is this. The more personal information that is collected about you. The more you open yourself up to being harmed. Heck, you have people setting up other people on the internet all the time.