As Apple’s new iPhone 5S officially goes on sale, the hacker community is wasting no time at taking a crack at the phone’s latest security feature: Apple’s Touch ID, the fingerprint sensor embedded in the iPhone 5S home button.
Two security experts Nick Depetrillo and Robert David Graham have launched a website that lets people know if the sensor has been cracked yet. While bragging rights and message-board fame are certainly a big enough incentive for the first person to successfully hack it, there’s an even bigger prize. The website has collected a $16,000 bounty for the winning hacker who lifts fingerprints, say from a beer mug, to crack the system.
“Hackers had used gummy bears to lift fingerprint sensors a while back,” Graham told ABC News. “We are arguing that it is a lot harder. We are all offering money, betting that it is going to be hard. We are betting that no one tomorrow is going to grab a gummy bear and get through tomorrow.”
People from the security and hacking community have contributed to the bounty by tweeting their contributions with the hashtag #istouchidhackedyet. Besides many cash donations of $50 and $100, the bounty also includes bottles of booze, Bitcoins, a lock picking tool and a “dirty sex book.” Venture capital firm I/O Capital Partners sweetened the pot with a monster donation of $10,000.
“One of the principals in the security community is you can’t trust something unless there is a bounty for it,” Graham said.
The only downfall for the winning hacker? He or she will need to go collect the money from each donor, a task I’m sure will be easily forgotten once 16 large is in the pocket. “This isn’t Kickstarter,” Graham said. “It’s more like LOLstarter.”
Even you come out on the loosing end, at least it will be a good excuse from drinking beer and eating lots of gummy bears.
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