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Inside Apple's iPhone 5s: 's' is for 'security'

post #1 of 49
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The inclusion of the Touch ID fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s may position Apple as the default choice for businesses and government agencies looking to provide employees with smartphones, while also maintaining high levels of security.

Touch ID


A market in flux



In recent years, Apple's iOS platform has excelled in enterprise adoption. But government and business markets, which were once dominated by BlackBerry, remain very much in flux.

With BlackBerry now on the way out, the smartphone market has turned into what is essentially a two-horse race between Apple's iOS and Google's Android. But Android is also home to an overwhelming majority of mobile malware that can steal information and potentially make corporate phones vulnerable to nefarious attackers.

Android malware has become such a concern among businesses and governments that the leading Android smartphone vendor, Samsung, has added its own security layer to the platform, dubbed "Safe for Enterprise," in an effort to make its handsets more appealing to businesses.

Apple's iPhone 5s with Touch ID enters an enterprise smartphone market where BlackBerry is on the way out and Android suffers from malware.Apple, meanwhile, has routinely noted that almost all Fortune 500 companies are testing or deploying the iPhone. The company's smartphone lineup also represents the majority of activations among small businesses.

To that end, Apple has offered a number of security-conscious features on its iPhones that appeal to businesses, such as remote wipe and passcode expiration. The iPhone also has hardware encryption, and gives businesses the ability to personalize an employee's iPhone, preventing them from installing unauthorized software from the App Store or updating to the latest version of iOS without company approval.

Touch ID


It's common among businesses that provide their employees with iPhones that a lockscreen key combination must be entered to access the device. But while passwords offer an initial layer of security, a simple four-digit code can be easily viewed over a person's shoulder as they unlock their device, representing a major security flaw.

Routine passcode entry is also a frustrating hassle for users who are likely to unlock and check their phone dozens of times per day. With a corporate phone mandating a lockscreen passcode, users can be required to enter the same four-digit code every single time they want to access their device.

Enter Touch ID



Apple's new Touch ID fingerprint scanner, which is exclusive to the iPhone 5s, aims to address these frustrations while at the same time providing even better security when accessing an iPhone. In this sense, Touch ID could prove to be a welcome addition among both corporations and government agencies, who want something more secure than a four-digit passcode, as well as their employees, who may be frustrated by repeated passcode entry.

In Apple's words, it's the "effortless" security offered by Touch ID that will make it an appealing feature for users of all types, both business and personal.

And the implications for Touch ID go well beyond business users. Assuming it works as advertised, Apple's Touch ID fingerprint recognition technology may prove so reliable and quick that many other users will enable lockscreen security on their iPhone for the very first time, acting as a potential detriment to general iPhone theft.

But it's enterprise customers in particular who may see the most to gain from Touch ID, with enhanced security that can ensure that only a trusted employee can access the device.

Inside Touch ID



Touch ID


Of course, Touch ID would never catch on with businesses or end users if it didn't work as advertised. The system must be accurate enough to ensure security, while also quick enough to make it more convenient than entering a password or code.Unlike most fingerprint scanners, Apple's Touch ID does not require a user to swipe their finger. Simply pressing the iPhone 5s home button is all that is required.

But the technology behind Apple's Touch ID has a proven track record, having been around for years through another established company. Apple set the stage for enhanced security in the iPhone 5s with its 2012 $356 million acquisition of AuthenTec, a Florida-based company that was responsible for a "Smart Sensor" fingerprint scanning device.

Until now, the most common fingerprint scanners on mobile devices have required users to swipe their finger against a scanner. But Apple's Touch ID, powered by AuthenTec's patented technology, simply requires that a user place their finger against the iPhone 5s home button ? no swiping required.

AuthenTec's unique fingerprint scanning technology not only leads to a simple and secure way to scan a user's fingerprint, but it also gives Apple a leg up on competitors that will inevitably look to replicate the defining feature of the iPhone 5s in their own smartphones.

Touch ID


The iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor is made possible in part because of a new steel ring that exists around the home button. That new part is a key component behind AuthenTec's technology, which relies on radio frequency field sensing to accurately identify a user's fingerprint.

The steel ring around the new iPhone 5s home button acts as an electrode that drives a low-frequency RF signal into a user's finger. The fingertip is attenuated by unique ridges and valleys, which are captured by AC sensors embedded in the home button.

AuthenTec's sensors scan a finger at 500 pixels per inch using advanced capacitive touch. This data is then used to create a three-dimensional scan of the fingerprint quickly and accurately, identifying the unique sub-epidermal layers of a person's skin, with details smaller than the human eye can see.

All of this technology is encased in a sapphire crystal home button, which Apple says will prevent scratches to ensure that Touch ID continues to operate properly for years to come.

Touch ID


Touch ID is also designed to be as convenient as possible, allowing users to place their fingerprint on the sensor from any angle. That means users should be able to press their finger against the home button without needing to worry about the orientation at which their fingerprint will be scanned.

But perhaps of greatest interest to prospective business and government buyers is the fact that the fingerprint data is encrypted and securely stored onboard the new A7 chip found in the iPhone 5s. According to Apple, the recorded fingerprint data is only made available to the Touch ID sensor, and it will never be made available to other software or stored on the company's remote servers.

Apple has noted that because each person has a unique fingerprint, and it is always carried with them, Touch ID makes for an ideal security method that is both effective and convenient.

As for more extreme security concerns, it's not expected that the iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor will work with a severed finger. The radio frequency scanning used by Apple requires that a finger remain alive in order for Touch ID to work properly.

Note: This is the third in a six-part AppleInsider series detailing features of Apple's new iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c. Previous installments are included below:

Inside Apple's iPhone 5s: 's' is for 'sensors'

Inside Apple's iPhone 5c: 'c' is for 'colors'
post #2 of 49

One thing that is getting very little press attention is the changes Apple has made in iOS 7 that are directed specifically to business/enterprise users.

 

http://www.apple.com/ios/business/

 

iOS was already dominating in enterprise use, and instead of sitting back they made some significant upgrades to iOS 7 to make it even more appealing.

 

Adding Touch ID on top of these features give Apple a huge advantage.

post #3 of 49
Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.
post #4 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

 

The one who can knock us unconscious can put pistol at point blank and demand for the 4 digit passcode.  

post #5 of 49

L is for linkbait.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #6 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

 

Someone can easily knock you unconscious (where you may die) and you're telling me at that point your phone is of any importance?

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #7 of 49

A person will ask for cash or take you to ATM on gun point. Not ask for the 4 digit lock or finger id just to get hold of an iPhone.

post #8 of 49
I think we are just on the verge of understanding all the opportunities 64 bit and biometrics on a smartphone offers. Added security for enterprise is just the tip of the iceberg.

Apple has just upped the ante and the barrier for competition can't be resolved by just changing the screen size.
post #9 of 49
Quote:
 As for more extreme security concerns, it's not expected that the iPhone 5s Touch ID sensor will work with a severed finger. The radio frequency scanning used by Apple requires that a finger remain alive in order for Touch ID to work properly.

Will it work through a band aid, or a scab?

Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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post #10 of 49
How long till iPads and MacBooks have this integrated into the power button?
post #11 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

L is for linkbait.

-1
I’d rather have a better product than a better price.
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post #12 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

 

Are you serious? Watching too many movies?

 

Perhaps you need the model that also requires you to p on it so it can verify your DNA. Spitting on it wouldn't be suitable because someone could get that from your mouth if you were unconscious.

post #13 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1brayden View Post
 

 

Are you serious? Watching too many movies?

 

Perhaps you need the model that also requires you to p on it so it can verify your DNA.

iPhone 12: Welcome to Gattaca ;)

Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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post #14 of 49
I guess "security" tests better than "sensors"
post #15 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Mozzarella View Post

How long till iPads and MacBooks have this integrated into the power button?

 

I assume the next iPad will have this as well. Then by next year (year after?) it will be on the Mini and iPhone 6/7C (or whatever its called. Tallest calm down).

 

As for Macs - I'm not as willing to hazard any guesses.

post #16 of 49
5 is for the hours one must wait this Friday to get their Bling iPhone!
Edited by pazuzu - 9/16/13 at 10:56am
 
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post #17 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

Someone can easily knock you unconscious (where you may die) and you're telling me at that point your phone is of any importance?

Quote:
Originally Posted by aamadmi View Post

A person will ask for cash or take you to ATM on gun point. Not ask for the 4 digit lock or finger id just to get hold of an iPhone.


Is this all part of the new "Snatch n Sell" policy in NYC?
 
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post #18 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

I actually am quite prepared to tape my fingers tips up at night for when one of my lady friends spends the night.

I'll just convince her I'm a professional basketball player.
post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by EauVive View Post
 

Will it work through a band aid, or a scab?

We'll have to save more than 1 finger, of course. 

post #20 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post
 

We'll have to save more than 1 finger, of course. 

 

You mean it works with any finger? I thought you had to use the same finger over and over again.

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Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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post #21 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by EauVive View Post
 

 

You mean it works with any finger? I thought you had to use the same finger over and over again.

 

I think it can store 5 finger signatures.

post #22 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dillio View Post
 

Does anyone know anything about the battery life in 5s and 5c? I wouldn't mind Apple making their devices a bit thicker for longer-lasting battery. People put cases on them and make them thicker anyway. There's a point beyond which a phone is too thin. Thicker feels better in the hand...

 

Not everyone. Some like their phones the way they like their women ;)

post #23 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

 

That could actually a be feature. Suppose you are accidentally knocked out or suffer a serious medical emergency, the first responders could immediately unlock your phone with your finger and call next of kin listed in your favorites.

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post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

 

where does this silliness come from.

 

If someone wants your iPhone and are willing to actually kill or mame you, pass code or not they will get their way.  The finger ID thing is of no consequence to this argument one way or another.  A strong enough threat and you will give up your phone unlocked.

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post #25 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by scotty321 View Post

Yet someone could easily knock you unconscious and use your finger to unlock your iPhone. Seems much easier than trying to figure out what your 4-digit passcode is.

 

In the future the 'belts and suspenders' will be there for those who need it.  If nothing else now the 4 digit pin (and a lowered lockout - 5 tries) becomes useful again.   A thumbprint and a pattern (that's my password…. I really can't even tell you what the characters are unless I look at the keyboard).   3 factor authentication

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chandra69 View Post
 

 

The one who can knock us unconscious can put pistol at point blank and demand for the 4 digit passcode.  

 

agreed.  The use case for this is the stolen/lost/unattended phone/ipad… and 'stealing passwords' via social engineering, or just good optics [the long term case of all your app passwords can be linked to your fingerprint data [most likely an AppleID signed GUID, to allow for migration from device to device] and sent to an app's back end authN server].

 

It does not solve the extortion/threat/ use case.   Humans are always the weakest link.  And is any data worthy losing your or a loved one's life over? 

 

There is no technology that prevents this attack [well, the 'duress' password/honeyapp, which when entered flags the back end to 'fake access' and call the rescue squad , but when the banks put that in I'll die a happy man], so being better and easier and less hackable than all the rest is where Apple has to resign itself to at the moment ;-)

post #26 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post
 

 

Not everyone. Some like their phones the way they like their women ;)

 

and what phone does Sir Mix a Lot use?

post #27 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by patpatpat View Post
 

 

I think it can store 5 finger signatures.

 

I didn’t know that. Seems logical. Thanks.

BTW, even if no API can access it, I don’t believe a second the recorded “Touch ID” to be private. I’m sure it could be retrieved wirelessly by Apple at will.

Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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post #28 of 49
So Apple is targeting government agencies by providing a fingerprint scanner to provide security for the new phone. I can't see the 'Men In Black' using them - didn't all agents have their fingerprints wiped in the first movie? ;-)
post #29 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by EauVive View Post
 

 

I didn’t know that. Seems logical. Thanks.

BTW, even if no API can access it, I don’t believe a second the recorded “Touch ID” to be private. I’m sure it could be retrieved wirelessly by Apple at will.

 

 

To my understanding (and we will know pretty soon) the enclave has no data lines out to carry data.  It can only tell the A7 there was a match, and which of the 5 prints you can configure it with matched.  The sensor only gives a hash code to the enclave (i.e. it does not store your actual print per se, but reduces your print to a signature number).

 

the hash code cannot be used to recreate a fingerprint.  Sort of like how a checksum cannot be used to recreate a photo with which it was calculated from.

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post #30 of 49
The algoritm used in the 5s, is it from Apple / Authentech or from some third party vendor?
post #31 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post


To my understanding (and we will know pretty soon) the enclave has no data lines out to carry data.  It can only tell the A7 there was a match, and which of the 5 prints you can configure it with matched.  The sensor only gives a hash code to the enclave (i.e. it does not store your actual print per se, but reduces your print to a signature number).

the hash code cannot be used to recreate a fingerprint.  Sort of like how a checksum cannot be used to recreate a photo with which it was calculated from.

Oh, I see. Well, I hope you’re right. But it’s pretty difficult, nowadays, to tell a data line from a power line, for example. And much can be transmitted on a single pair of wires.

I don’t understand how a hash code could be used. A hash code, by definition, is not unique: several patterns match the same hash. In this case, it would mean that several different fingerprints would register under the same hash; in other terms: two people with different Touch ID could activate the device, which is precisely what the mechanism tries to avoid…
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Predictions are perilous, especially about future. Niels Bohr
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post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by EauVive View Post


Oh, I see. Well, I hope you’re right. But it’s pretty difficult, nowadays, to tell a data line from a power line, for example. And much can be transmitted on a single pair of wires.

I don’t understand how a hash code could be used. A hash code, by definition, is not unique: several patterns match the same hash. In this case, it would mean that several different fingerprints would register under the same hash; in other terms: two people with different Touch ID could activate the device, which is precisely what the mechanism tries to avoid…

 

I don't think they would use the term enclave lightly.  But as I said we will know much more about it soon.

 

Yes, a hash code is not unique, but it could be only one in a million "touch IDs" would match or somesuch. I could see them use a 128-bit signature/hash per print pretty easily.  So for practical use, unless a million folks regularly handled your iphone the security would be fine.  Im not in the know, just passing on to you how I would implement it.

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post #33 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bangzulu View Post

The algoritm used in the 5s, is it from Apple / Authentech or from some third party vendor?

 

Nobody yet knows, but my guess is it is an authentech algorithm  

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post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dugbug View Post

Im not in the know, just passing on to you how I would implement it.

Well, I suppose you’re not in the know, because if you were, you’d be jeopardizing your position discussing such things openly!

Thanks for the hints! As you say, we’ll know about the crux pretty soon. I’ll stay tuned. Thanks again.
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post #35 of 49
Apple is screwing over its zombie fans.
post #36 of 49

I don't like the fake fingerprint that is used to show print learning progress. It reinforces the mistaken idea that an actual fingerprint is stored on the device.

post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post

Not everyone. Some like their phones the way they like their women 1wink.gif
I'm guessing:
1) Conceived in California but actually produced in China
2) Made from environmentally friendly components
3) Touch activated?
😳
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..... the greatest fame comes from adding to human knowledge, not winning battles.
Paraphrased from Napolean Bonaparte, 1798
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post #38 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by EauVive View Post
 

BTW, even if no API can access it, I don’t believe a second the recorded “Touch ID” to be private. I’m sure it could be retrieved wirelessly by Apple at will.

I can't believe that Apple would be so completely stupid as to lie about something like this feature. If they did, it's certain that they would eventually be discovered and, at that point, would lose all consumer trust. They could kiss goodbye to any and all enterprise use, and the legions of villified haters would lead the march to the competition.

 

Either that or, you know, we'll only find out they were lying as skynet goes active and it's all too late.

post #39 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by dnd0ps View Post
 

 

Not everyone. Some like their phones the way they like their women ;)

 

...

 
boobs?
post #40 of 49

major fortune 100 company changing blackberry to apple iphone as contracts come do that will  be 25k new iphones in market

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