What seemed to be a simple fingerprint scanner error has huge potential for further security risks. Apple has officially released a software fix for the ‘Error 53’ issue on newer iPhone models, but there’s no update for the retrospective problems.
As noted by Apple, Error 53 was a “security measure” to prevent fraudulent transactions, though it may be too late for many. Ben Wood of CCS Insight says, “If you’re using your fingerprint to unlock sensitive data or make payments and there was the ability for someone to replace the screen and modify the module to take control of your phone – that’s not a good thing at all.”
This leaves the question: How long has this security flaw been unpatched? According to the official Apple support forums, threads about the error date back as far as Feburary 5, 2016, leaving iPhone 6 users open to attack for over two full weeks. What does this mean for the affected users?
During the weeks of vulnerability, your personal data and payment information was a target of virtual theft. Anything you may have used the fingerprint scanner for, whether it be paying bills or securing personal info, was accessible by the crackers. In addition to that, another flaw allowed iPhone 6 crackers to take control of your device.
If you fall into the category of “potential victim” here is how you can brace for impact. First, be on the lookout for outstanding charges to any of your credit cards or payment platforms. Next you should confirm with an Apple technician or the support forums that your software is up to date and aligned with the new security protocols. With all of that in mind, remember that things like this can always happen again and to double down on protection when you suspect even the slightest infraction.
The ease of online banking and payment comes with a new set of problems, unfortunately.