Could iPhone 5S Thieves Chop Off Fingers To Hack Fingerprint Scanner?

Excited by the fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone? Well not to panic you, but one security has warned that whether or not the device can be hacked, owners of devices might be.

In extreme cases thieves have mutilated victims to gain access to devices equipped with fingerprint readers, an expert has warned.

Marc Rogers, intelligence expert and current Principal Security Researcher at Lookout Mobile Security, said the sensors can provide a convenient way to unlock gadgets while also boosting security.

Fraudsters have also succeeded in lifting and duplicating prints with technology that "is only going to improve with time", he added.

"Thieves in some regions have worked out that you can force a victim to unlock a secured device, and in some extreme cases have also mutilated victims in order to steal their fingerprint."

The hi-tech scanners are said to work best when combined with a pin code or another security feature.

"Fingerprints can be a useful addition to security but their value depends highly on the type of fingerprint reader and how it is being used - for example, the best use of a fingerprint is to provide a convenient way to unlock something in a medium to low security scenario," Rogers said.

"Unlocking a device with a fingerprint, if done right, can be much more convenient than entering a pin code multiple times a day."

UPDATE: A previous version of this story said that thieves had previously mutilated victims to gain access to phones. In fact this has only been recorded in rare instances relating to devices other than phones.

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