By Alexandra Burlacu | Sep 12, 2013 11:14 AM EDT
The iPhone 5S is out and it boasts the much-rumored fingerprint sensor, and Apple vows not to store images of fingerprints or upload them to its servers.
As expected, the new fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5S stirred quite some waves. While some are glad to see an improved security system that would also make the process easier, others are concerned about their privacy. The Internet was flooded with all sorts of memes and sarcastic images suggesting that it's just a clever way to get millions of people to voluntarily give their fingerprints for Apple to share with NSA and who knows who else.
Apple took a stance and gave a statement to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), insisting that it will not store images of fingerprints in the device and it will not upload them to its servers (including iCloud).
The fingerprint sensor, called Touch ID, will only store "fingerprint data," which Apple swears will remain encrypted within the smartphone's processor. That data will then be converted into a digital signature in order to unlock the iPhone or authorize purchases in App stores. This would mean that, in theory, even if someone hacked their way into the smartphone's encrypted chip, they would still not manage to reverse-engineer one's fingerprint.
"All fingerprint information is encrypted, and stored inside the secure enclave inside our new A7 chip. Here it is locked away from everything else, accessible only by the Touch ID sensor. It's never available to other software, it's never stored on Apple's servers, or backed up to iCloud," Apple's Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering Dan Riccio explained in the promotional video for the iPhone 5S.
"Apple customers who wish to use Touch ID also have to create a passcode as a backup. Only that passcode (not a finger) can unlock the phone if the phone is rebooted or hasn't been unlocked for 48 hours," said Apple. "This feature is meant to block hackers from stalling for time as they try to find a way to circumvent the fingerprint scanner."
What Apple did not discuss, however, if the NSA was involved in the development of the Touch ID fingerprint scanner or whether the agency has access to the encrypted data stored within the iPhone 5S' A7 chip.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.