Hackers crowdfund bounty to hack iPhone 5S fingerprint scanner on istouchidhackedyet.com

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iphone-5s-finger-print-scannerApple’s iPhone 5S comes with a fingerprint scanner and it is now the subject of an online contest started by hackers who are offering a bounty to the first person to hack the biometric lock.

The list at istouchidhackedyet.com is open to anyone who wants to join in offering a reward, and the amount total for doing the dirty deed is growing by the hour.

The iPhone 5S is already in “short supply” for Friday’s launch – and hackers are most certainly among those eager to get their hands on the premium phone.

As of this writing the amount of the community-sourced, crowdfunded bounty is $2200 (plus various items and bottles of alcohol), from 28 individuals. Of course, some of the payment is in Bitcoin.

Apple is not on the list.

Those interested in joining the bounty offer simply need to tweet their amount or offering to the #istouchidhackedyet hash tag.

Apple added the fingerprint scanner as a security boost for its flagship device, and a biometric lock is what could straddle the line between convenience and security for many consumers.

The scanner on Apple’s new phone is a capacitance scanner. Rather than using the electro-optical method to capture and record a fingerprint, which produces an image, Apple’s scanner uses capaciative cells and conductor plates to create feedback that generates a code.

For the iPhone 5S, fingerprint ridges cause tiny plates to contact and close a circuit and generating current. Apple’s software reads the energy of each cell to select which one is under a ridge and which is under a valley.

After the print is read and code is generated, it’s sent to Apple’s encrypted microprocessor.

An Apple spokesperson addressed widespread concerns about the security of such a feature when commenting to the Wall Street Journal last Wednesday, saying that Apple’s new Touch ID system only stores “fingerprint data,” which remains encrypted within the iPhone’s processor.

It is undetermined if the biometric data is encrypted before being sent to the microprocessor. At this time, Apple is not allowing third-party apps access to the fingerprint scanner’s data.

The mood among the hackers behind istouchidhackedyet.com is jovial.