Crowdsourced bounty of over US$15,000 offered to first to hack iPhone 5s’ Touch ID

20 Sep 2013

The iPhone 5s

An online group has crowdsourced a bounty of US$15,000, some whiskey, some wine and ‘a dirty sex book’ for anyone who can successfully hack the fingerprint security system on the new Apple iPhone 5s from fingerprints left on surfaces, like a beer glass, for example.

A group of donors at have offered US$15,000 in Bitcoins and US dollars, as well as assorted booze, including Maker’s Mark whiskey, “a dirty sex book and a bottle of Bulleit Borbon”, “a bottle of my favourite Argentine wine”, “one free patent application covering the hack” and an iPhone 5c, among other things.

The largest donation to the bounty came from Arturas Rosenbacher, founding partner of I/O Capital, who offered a reward of US$10,000.

Built into the home button of the iPhone 5s, the Touch ID sensor uses a laser-cut sapphire crystal, together with the capacitive touch sensor, to take a high-resolution image of the user’s fingerprint and intelligently analyse it to provide accurate readings from any angle.

The device comes out in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the US and the UK today, and hopefully the rest of the world before December.

The crowdsourced bounty is being offered to anyone who can hack the sensor and break into an iPhone 5s by lifting prints “like from a beer mug.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years