With all the advancements in security technology, it’s only a matter of time before clunky passwords are replaced with a more secure and more convenient solution. Unlocking your technology with a fingerprint reader is an easy and fun alternative that’s being integrated with some of the latest devices; but how safe are fingerprint readers?Popularized by the new iPhone 5s, fingerprint readers are a great way to lock everybody, including your identical twin, out of your device. This is especially convenient for a mobile device because you have to hold it in your hand anyways in order to use it, so you might as well combine the action of picking up your device with the unlocking task. Not to be outdone, Microsoft is also planning to release its own security upgrade with Windows 8.1 that will be “optimized for fingerprint-based biometrics.”
While a fingerprint reader security is incredibly convenient, it’s not without controversy and risk. In the U.S., many citizens are suspicious that Apple is working with the NSA to hand them a fingerprint database. Another concern is that an aggressive knife-wielding hacker will bypass the fingerprint reader by going chop-happy on a user’s hand. Considering the motion it takes to remove a human finger with a dull knife, hacking now has two meanings.
Additionally, it may be easier to get around fingerprint security than users realize. For example, your fingerprints are only secure if you are conscious and in control of your hand. It would not be terribly difficult for a hacker to wait for you to fall to sleep, steal your phone, and press it against your finger.
This same logic works for intoxicated people. While it’s hard for a drunk person to recall and verbally repeat to a hacker a complex password or connect the nine dots of a pattern unlock screen, it wouldn’t take much effort on the hacker’s part to rip off a mobile device from a drunk person, and then borrow their hand long enough to unlock it.
Another finger point to consider; a video of a Japanese man has recently gone viral successfully registering his right nipple to lock and unlock his new iPhone: viral video!
At Setton Consulting, our Japanese translation skills are poor, therefore it’s hard to know for sure (especially when it’s cold) if this guy is unlocking his iPhone, or beta testing a new breastfeeding app.
Another unforeseen risk of fingerprint readers is a hostile takeover by animals. It’s actually being reported that a cat’s paw can be used to lock and unlock an iPhone. Sure, cats are cute and cuddly on the outside, but on the inside, cats are pure evil and planning the demise of the human race through our technology. Or at least, this is the findings of the 2001 documentary “Cats & Dogs.”
Trusting a feline with your personal information by registering their paw with your device’s fingerprint reader is a bad idea. As a general rule, you should only trust a cat as far as you can throw it, which doesn’t necessarily apply the same way for everybody because some people can toss a cat for some serious yardage.
Before you implement any new security measure to safeguard your valuable data, it’s important to assess all the risks so you won’t be surprised by a missing finger or a big order of catnip made from your smartphone. To learn more about fingerprint reader security and other security measures that can protect your company’s data, call Setton Consulting today at 212-796-6061.