Apple Offers Additional Details on Touch ID, iPhone 5s Won't Store Fingerprint Images

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Sep 11, 2013.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Amid fears about the security of Apple's new Touch ID fingerprint sensor, an Apple spokesman has told The Wall Street Journal that the phone will only store the data used to recognize fingerprints, rather than actual images
    Announced yesterday, Touch ID is a new security feature built into the home button of the iPhone 5s, designed to allow users to unlock their phones and authorize iTunes purchases with a finger scan. The sensor captures a high-resolution image of a fingerprint, analyzing it to provide accurate readings.

    During its Touch ID presentation, Apple was quick to specify that all fingerprint information is encrypted and stored "in the Secure Enclave inside the A7 chip on the iPhone 5s" rather than being stored on Apple servers or backed up to iCloud. Developers are also not being provided with access to user fingerprints as a means of authentication.

    Apple also gave the The Wall Street Journal a few other tips on the fingerprint sensor, noting that it occasionally malfunctions with moist fingers or fingers scarred by accidents and surgery. The company also explained that Touch ID must be supplemented with a passcode.
    The iPhone 5s, with the new Touch ID functionality, is set to be released to consumers on September 20. Apple is not accepting pre-orders for the device.

    Article Link: Apple Offers Additional Details on Touch ID, iPhone 5s Won't Store Fingerprint Images
  2. administrator2 macrumors newbie

    Aug 29, 2013
  3. chrmjenkins macrumors 603


    Oct 29, 2007
    If the sensor has dedicated pins into the A7 and that portion of the A7 is incapable of outputting data read in (only some sort of validation flag out), it would truly be secure. You'd have to probe the PCB to read it otherwise.
  4. Chatter macrumors 6502a

    Jun 10, 2013
    Uphill from Downtown

    This does actually make it more secure in my mind. I wasnt worried but can appreciate peoples concerns.
  5. SandboxGeneral Moderator emeritus


    Sep 8, 2010
    That's additional good news. It sounds, so far, like Apple has done their homework and paid attention to the security headlines this year.
  6. StarHunter macrumors newbie

    Oct 14, 2011
    Good, now people wont lose their phone if they lose their finger.
  7. KdParker macrumors 601


    Oct 1, 2010
    can't wait to try this sensor out....

    I just hate being reminded of the not being able to pre-order.
  8. ThisIsNotMe Suspended

    Aug 11, 2008
    All I know is that it takes 4-5 seconds to home button + slide to unlock + passcode and even longer if you are using alpha numeric password.

    Personally I unlock my phone ~50 times per day.

    Saving ~4 seconds between slide to unlock and passcode is roughly ~200 seconds per day saved unlocking my phone or ~3 minutes. 3 minutes per day equates to roughly ~18 hours per year or more than $5,000 worth of lost productivity unlocking my phone.

    That alone makes this touch sensor worth while.
  9. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    Dear Apple, I'm sorry because I realise it's not really your fault, but I don't trust that the NSA haven't nobbled you, and nothing you have said so far leads me to… um think different, as it were.
  10. Freida macrumors 68000

    Oct 22, 2010
    I would have to troll on your post and get banned. Your post is crazy.
    If you are so concerned about time lost whilst unlocking the phone then why are you on macrumors chatting about it. I'm sure that lost you way more time.

    Facepalm is NOT enough in this case!
  11. mechno macrumors newbie

    Jul 30, 2009
    Now that we know the ***** the NSA pulls..

    It's not called paranoid anymore.

    This reply from an Apple spokesperson makes me more nervous, actually, because of its misdirection.
    The distinction between a fingerprint and name correlation versus a "fingerprint data" and name correlation seems artificial.

    If I get a phone that has this (likely) i will never turn this feature on.
  12. CrazyForApple macrumors 6502a


    Dec 31, 2012
    Buffalo, NY
    The NSA will still have everyone's fingerprints
  13. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    I believe there is an optional tin-foil hat that you can purchase to help with this. (Sorry, not being mean, it was just hanging out there and I couldn't help myself).
  14. lolkthxbai macrumors 65816


    May 7, 2011
    Not to mention accessibilty, not having to look at the screen to input numbers and letters or wait to have the phone speak it to you so you can put your password in.
  15. ProVideo macrumors 6502

    Jun 28, 2011
    Sounds familiar.
  16. lilo777 macrumors 603

    Nov 25, 2009
    Entering four digit pin takes about a second (and works 100% accurately). That's probably about on par with the sensor when sensor matches your fingerprint quickly. Since the sensor will not be able to match the fingerprint quickly all the time, in some cases it will take longer. On average sensor will probably cost you money.
  17. BigHonkingDeal macrumors 6502a


    Feb 8, 2009
    Fort Pierce
    Good to know that you make more than $277 an hour :)
  18. 576316 macrumors 601

    May 19, 2011
    People are using 'security flaws' as cheap ways of getting at the 5S. Apple were never going to take security lightly and were always going to put their hearts and souls into making sure our fingerprints and safe and secure. As, they are the only password which is always with you...of course.

    Ps. So excited for iPhone 5S!
  19. Porco macrumors 68030


    Mar 28, 2005
    No offence taken! But please read one of my earlier posts on these forums and then decide for yourself whether the tin-foil joke is really all that apt.

    It's not paranoia when they are admitting going after everyone's data is part of their job!
  20. V.K. macrumors 6502a


    Dec 5, 2007
    Toronto, Canada
    I'm afraid Apple is pissing against the wind with these explanations. I don't think there is anything they can say or do with this tech that will satisfy the paranoid spooked by the NSA scandal.

    Yep, I see that comments in this thread already confirm this.
  21. Detrius macrumors 68000

    Sep 10, 2008
    Asheville, NC
    50 times unlocking your phone in an eight hour day comes down to once every 9.6 minutes, so you could also save yourself some time by adding a timeout of ten minutes to that pass code lock.

    Those three minutes per day are going to be negated by the fact that you're still going to be stopped at traffic lights for at least that long. I see caring about that small an amount of time on a daily basis as needless micromanaging... but if you're charging your customers close to $300/hour, I can see why some people might care.
  22. bbeagle macrumors 68040


    Oct 19, 2010
    Buffalo, NY
    The only way to know FOR SURE is to gain the knowledge and tools to examine the physical chips and connections.

    Of course, even if you did find no possible way for this data to be captured by Apple or the NSA, something tells me that you wouldn't believe your own research, because Apple is inheritently evil.
  23. BC2009, Sep 11, 2013
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2013

    BC2009 macrumors 68000


    Jul 1, 2009
    For those who don't understand cryptographic one-way hashes, they cannot be reversed to produce the original data without a dictionary attack. A dictionary attack in this case would require a collection of actual human fingers or replicas of them to run through Apple's Touch ID to see which cryptographic hashes match the one stored on the device.

    Also note, that their is a really really really small chance that two fingerprints will generate the same cryptographic hash. Cryptographic hashes by their very nature have LESS data than the source data for which they are hash. This means that the if the source data has potentially quadrillions of combinations that there may be only billions of values that they hash to (a one to many mapping of hashes to source data). More likely scenario is that your fingerprint hashes to the same value as a fingerprint that does not currently exist on the planet today and may never exist.

    Think of a large 500-page book as a just a collection of letters, numbers, spaces, and punctation. You could pound on the keyboard and produce a book of random text or you could carefully craft an actual readable book. The hash reduces the book to a hash of say 500 characters which is generated in such a way that even changing a single letter in the book or the capitalization of a single letter produces an entirely different hash (cryptographic hash algorithms magnify any change to cyclically change other parts). Obviously, there is no way you could take 500 characters of data and regenerate the 500-page book (that would be the most amazing lossless-compression algorithm in the world, but also mathematically impossible). Because of this you cannot reverse it. You could however, run a hash on all books known to man to find the one that matches the same value (a dictionary attack). Finally, there is a possibility that two carefully crafted books hash to the same value, but it is far more likely that a book's hash would match some of the billions of permutations of random letters , numbers, spaces, and symbols that have never been bound into a book.

    It is the same for fingerprint data. Your actual fingerprint could only be determined if somebody already had a replica of your finger in a database and could make Apple's Touch ID sensor generate the same hash from it. The worst somebody could do is break into your phone or prove that a phone did indeed belong to you. What's more, the odds of somebody else's fingerprint matching yours is like two monkeys pounding out the exact same content on a keyboard after an hour of bashing away at it. Either way, there is no chance of your fingerprint being cloned and used in other places to impersonate your presence.
  24. Nunyabinez macrumors 68000


    Apr 27, 2010
    Provo, UT
    I understand that people are rightly concerned about this. For various reasons I have been finger-printed several times in the past, so for me this is a non-issue.
  25. jyen macrumors regular

    Oct 29, 2012
    Can someone please enlighten me on why people are so fussy about the NSA getting fingerprint data? What can they do with that information? It's not like they can even sell it to marketers. :confused:

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