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Community Bounty To Hack iPhone 5S Touch ID Hits Thousands

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Crowd-funded bounty is on offer for anyone who can “break into an iPhone 5S by lifting prints (like from a beer mug)”

A crowd-funded bounty has been set up to reward the first person to crack Apple’s iPhone 5S Touch ID, which unlocks users’ devices with just their thumb print. Over $3000 is now believed to be on offer, including Bitcoin payments.

The aim is to get someone to “reliably and repeatedly break into an iPhone 5S by lifting prints (like from a beer mug)”, according to the bounty website.

iphone 5STwo security experts, Nick DePetrillo from Crucial Security and Robert David Graham from exploit seller Robert David Graham, are behind the IsTouchIDHackedYet.com website.

Anyone who wants to offer up their cash simply has to say so on Twitter with “#IsTouchIDHackedYet” in the tweet.

Backers want to see Touch ID cracked

A host of people have offered their money, including the secretive exploit merchant known only as The Grugq. Another notable backer is Violet Blue, producer of sex advice and ZDNet blogger.

Touch ID has received plenty of attention, given it is the main hardware improvement over previous iterations of the iPhone.

It all seems like a bit of fun, despite the potentially serious connotations. “Looks like harmless fun, no one’s looking for exploit code that can be resold, just video proof that you’re effectively winning the bet,” said Trend Micro’s Rik Ferguson.

Security expert Graham Cluley wasn’t convinced by the seriousness of the project either, telling TechWeekEurope there is nothing that says whoever bypasses Touch ID has to reveal how they did it in a public space, or if they have to disclose to Apple before publishing.

“Am I the only one to find this method of fundraising a little slip-shod?  it’s easy to imagine some of those who have promised money to back out later, or simply not hand over the greenbacks,” Cluley said.

Were you paying attention to the launch? Try our iPhone 5C and 5S quiz!