Of all the new features of Apple’s new iPhone 5S, few have drawn more attention than the built-in fingerprint scanner known as Touch ID. Apple billed it as an “innovative way to simply and securely unlock your phone with just the touch of a finger.” More breathless accounts were calling it a potential “death knell for passwords” or using similarly overblown phrases. Until the new phones are in the hands of skilled hackers and security consultants, we won’t know for sure if Touch ID represents a step forward from the security and privacy offered by today’s iPhones. Dan Goodin at Ars Technica spent several hours parsing the limited number of details provided by Apple and speaking to software and security engineers. He found evidence both supporting and undermining the case that the fingerprint readers are an improvement.
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