The Hack in the Box security conference is set to take place later in August, but, ahead of the event, one attendee has managed to complete quite the feat.
Before the security conference kicks off, a user that goes by the username “xerub” on Twitter posted an extraction tool, as well as correlating information, regarding the Secure Enclave within the iPhone 5s. As it stands right now, this appears to be a move that is focused almost primarily on research. There is currently no exploit in place to take advantage of the move, and, if any is developed, it would be specific to the iPhone 5s.
Of course, physical access to the device would also be required to take advantage of the discovery, and there would also need to be lauded custom firmware as well.
The Secure Enclave, though, is one of the most integral parts of current-generation iPhones. It is part of the A-series processor within the device, beginning with the A7 and the iPhone 5s, and it provides all of the cryptographic operations required for security protections on the device. It processes fingerprint data to make sure that the fingerprint placed on the reader matches what has been previously stored.
This is big news for the security and hacker communities, to be sure, but this does not put iPhone 5s owners, or any other iPhone owners for that matter, in any immediate danger. As mentioned above, the exposure of the Touch ID Encryption Key is one that will primarily be used for research.
Of course, Apple will more than likely be paying close attention, even for an older device like the iPhone 5s.