August 3, 2012 -
The Apple bid to acquire AuthenTec further boosts its chances of outfitting the iPad with a fingerprint reader. However, some groups do not welcome the move and even think of it as a plot to block Samsung and its closest rivals from advancing in the portable devices war. An advanced form of security in any portable device is sure to make it more enticing to consumers worldwide.
Having a fingerprint scanner in place of the generic four-digit PIN is certainly a step further and gives mobile users a great advantage in terms of keeping their data and files protected. Today’s biometric scanners are faster than predecessors and have a very low chance of the owner forgetting their access codes. However, this kind of system is not without its set of weaknesses and faults.
Many issues have surfaced with the use of the fingerprint system such as privacy, leaking of the print or the possibility of it being duplicated. Security Technologist Bruce Schneier says that if the prints are stored locally or within the device then there is little to no chance of it leaking out. Problems only start to arise when stored prints are exported and stored in a central or cloud-based system, which is then prone to hacking from cyber criminals.
The only way for fingerprint scanners to become effective is when they are used together with another layer of security. For example, a four digit PIN plus a fingerprint scan will only allow a particular user access to his device. It would also help if users have a realistic expectation of what their systems can or cannot do.
As for AuthenTec, the company works on different kinds of security systems for both PC and mobile devices and is not mainly concentrated on fingerprint scanners alone.
Are fingerprint scanners more than enough to keep important files on mobile devices safe from thieves?