Are TouchID and Apple Pay compromised?

Anthony Caruana
22 August, 2017
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Last Friday, I woke up to news that a hacker, going by the name of xerub, has been able to decrypt the firmware in Apple’s Secure Enclave chip.

Touch ID, iPhone 6, apple, rumours, macworld australiaThis is the special piece of hardware used to protect transactions that use Apple’s TouchID and other security tools that are part of iOS and macOS (it’s also part of the recently released MacBook Pro). On its own, this is not a good thing, but it doesn’t point to a complete breakdown of Apple’s security for iOS and macOS. If anything, it shows how the entire system cannot be broken down by a single action.

I suspect that over the coming days there will be some analysts and experts who come out of the woodwork to tell us that Apple is no better than any other company when it comes to security and this is the evidence. In one sense, they are right.

Apple is not necessarily any better or worse than anyone else in the technology industry. But what this highlights is the importance of having a multilayered security system. If one layer is penetrated, as we believe has happened today, there are so many other layers that the return is not worth the effort.

On the lighter side of things, it has been very quiet in Cupertino. I suspect all of Apple’s boffins are working hard on the HomePod hardware, on the new iPhones expected next month, and on finalising the new versions of its five software platforms (I’m now counting the HomePod as a new platform even though it seems to run a customised version of iOS).

For me, the week has been taken up with getting my head around macOS High Sierra, the latest beta of iOS 11 (I’ve taken the plunge and installed it to my iPhone as well as my iPad) and the continuing preparations for my wedding.

The big news on that front was booking our honeymoon – we’ll be heading to a tropical island that only allows 20 guests, so it should be quiet. And there’s no internet or mobile phone access so it will be a truly peaceful break.

2 Comments

2 people were compelled to have their say. We encourage you to do the same..

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  2. David says:

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