What You Need to Consider Before Using Smartphone Fingerprint Readers
- Aug 14, 2017
Owing to the rising number of online security threats, smartphone developers are working overtime to invent better security measures. Over the last couple of years, reports have continually floated about how smartphones have become susceptible to dangers such as eavesdropping, hacking and other exploits. In order to overcome these, a safeguard mechanism was developed and incorporated in phone devices: the fingerprint reader. Just a simple finger-scan and the phone is unlocked – no need punch in passwords. As a result, app makers got to the task of developing fingerprint-oriented apps.
At first, the inclusion of the new feature was welcomed quite openly, but no sooner did the realization dawn that fingerprint readers on smartphone devices is no good news after all. This article endures to educate readers as to why exactly smartphone finger printer readers enhance the device’s vulnerability as well as the owner’s.
Easily forgeable: Many experts and scholars have come to believe that fingerprint readers, despite its convenience, have left a deep dent in phone security. Research conducted at New York University and Michigan State University indicates that fake fingerprints can con smartphones and make them easily accessible. Reason being, individuals who are tech-savvy can easily create false digital fingerprints – as they are made of several common facets that human prints have.
Computer stimulations came in handy as university researchers were able to design various counterfeit “MasterPrints” that can be akin to those used by phone devices, and the acceptance-rate is nearly 65 percent. The research outcomes triggered concerns amongst experts and researchers regarding the potency of fingerprint readers of smartphones.
The odds aren’t so bad: Expert opinion on this subject is that although the research findings are not a huge worry, but that doesn’t mean the threat isn’t present. An example in this context was cited by Prof. Andy Adler, he teaches systems and computer engineering at Carleton University in Canada. He is quite the expert on biometric security systems. He says, ““If all I want to do is take your phone and use your Apple Pay to buy stuff, if I can get into 1 in 10 phones, that’s not bad odds.”
Partial recognition: Fingerprints are, arguably, difficult to duplicate. The issue with smartphones however is that as the screen is small in size, the finger scanners are miniscule, and so they are able to read fingerprints just partially. Also, because the sensor has to read and match a finger swipe with a set of eight to ten images, the system becomes prone to false identification.
Fingerprint spoofing: Due to the half-baked competency of fingerprint readers in smartphones, this had led to the emergence of fingerprint spoofing. It is the most popular technique that is adopted for stealing data. Here’s a real-life example. Owing to fingerprint spoofing stunt, a massive data breach occurred at Office of Personnel Management. As many as 22 million peoples’ data was exposed and another 5.6 million users’ fingerprints were purloined.
Data Breaches: In the last couple of years cases of smartphone data breaches are escalating rapidly. Although no definitive statistics are available, still it is well-known that a large section of smartphone users have had their fingerprint information stolen. And it is a phenomenon which is going to continue in future as well.
In Defense: After the proverbial Pandora’s Box opened up, smartphone makers jumped to defend their innovation. Apple for instance, said that the iPhone’s fingerprint framework is comprehensively tested, and the chances for a false match to cut through the security of the device were pegged at 1 in 50,000. Furthermore Apple also explained that they ran tests against multiple attacks at the time its Touch ID technology was being developed. The brand was extra cautious and integrated surplus security features to safeguard the devices against false matches.
Using smartphones that are equipped with fingerprint reader technology is great, however be informed that if your fingerprints get filched for some reason, you will not be able to readapt it in the same manner you could a password. Next time, you go out to buy a smartphone, don’t be too impressed. Consider the pros and cons, then make a decision accordingly!
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