The dust has settled. The furor is coming to an end and people are now discussing some serious issues like will a severed finger be able to access the iPhone 5s. Although its not impossible to unlock the iPhone 5s without permission as we saw a small girl achieve the feat in no time.
Thieves and murderers can go to any extent to get what they want. Some argued that now all is required by thieves and murderers is to cut off the finger itself and place it on the touch id sensor. Hollywood fans also argued that the finger prints could be lifted off any surface and can be used to hack the device. It seems guys over at Apple are also into Hollywood cause they have thought of everything.
There were also concerns whether the government will be able to get their hands on this database. The NSA scandal keeps making the headlines in one way or another. But Apple is smarter, atleast in the former case. Your fingers are safe if the thieves are aware of the truth.
iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor uses radio frequency scanning to detect the sub-epidermal layers of your skin, a dynamic that requires the owner of the finger to be alive and attached to the finger being used.
“The [RF capacitive sensor] technology is built in a way that the [fingerprint] image has to be taken from a live finger,” says Sebastien Taveau, chief technology officer at Validity Sensors, a California based provider of fingerprint sensor solutions. “No one in biometrics wants to talk about cut fingers and dead bodies, but at the end of the day we are still asked to remove the fears of consumer and make sure that they understand that [a severed finger] will not work.”
There you go. Now the only question remains whether the thieves are smart enough to know and understand this fact ?
“[Apple] used a technology that’s been around for a long time, but the big difference is that they made it cool,” says Taveau. ”It’s been around on laptops, but besides locking and unlocking your laptop there was not much of a use case for it.
Let us now answer the second question – what about cloud security. Apple says that your finger print data is not being stored in the cloud.
A capacitance fingerprint reader leverages a handy property of your skin: The outer layer of your skin (your dermis), where your fingerprint is, is non-conductive, while the subdermal layer behind it is conductive. When you touch the iPhone’s fingerprint sensor, it measures the minuscule differences in conductivity caused by the raised parts of your fingerprint, and it uses those measurements to form an image..
Apple embedded this sensor in the Home button, and added a ring to turn it on and help reduce signal errors. I suspect that the ring also adds a little current to your finger to help boost and clean the signal.
It appears to be a great design. Most other portable readers I’ve used in the past were optical, which is easier to fool (sometimes a good photocopy will work), easier to break, and more prone to error (thanks to smudged glass and other factors).
What this simply means that your finger prints are safe so dont worry and pre-order your iphone 5s now.
image – Apple