When the iPhone 5S and 5C hit the market last week and promptly sold out, a majority of consumers who were lucky enough to get their hands on the devices were excited to use the new technology that would make their lives easier. However, there is another group that sees the new devices as creating another level of challenges.
The hacking community is not as dark and shady as people believe. In many cases, it uses its power for good and takes a new operating system or hardware security feature as an opportunity to find problems that can be fixed by the company before someone with nefarious desires is able to exploit them. It's also an opportunity for them to test their skills.
While jailbreaking the latest iOS is a common occurrence, the fingerprint scanner feature of the iPhone 5S offers a bigger challenge, so much so that the hacking community has come together to offer a bounty to the first person who is able to break through the scanner by lifting a fingerprint from a different surface.
A recent ABC News article interviewed security experts Nick Depetrillo and Robert David Graham, who launched the website "Is Touch ID Hacked Yet." Depetrillo offered $100 on his Twitter for the first to break the scanner and the site was born as others wanted to join in on the fun. As of Monday morning, more than $16,000 in cash, plus other prizes like bitcoins, whiskey and a free patent application for the hack have all been offered.
"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."
As of right now, the answer as to whether the fingerprint scanner has been hacked is "maybe." A German computer club is making waves for allegedly having done it. The site is awaiting video confirmation before paying out.
In the course of a weekend, the high security feature of the latest Apple mobile device could be hacked. This highlights the tightrope of security that businesses walk when they incorporate smartphones and tablets into daily operations. An IT consulting firm that specializes in Mac integration and mobile device deployment can ensure all security measures are taken into account.