Fingerprint scanning technology marks a new chapter in mobile security and with smartphones holding more personal data than ever before it couldn’t have come at a better time.
As mobile phones continue to become more powerful, users are being encouraged to keep banking details and personal information at their fingertips. However, this has led many critics to question how secure our handsets really are.
While passcodes have become a regular feature for unlocking your smartphone, fingerprint authentication has been widely discussed of late since Apple revealed that its new flagship, the iPhone 5S, would boast the new technology.
Changing for the better
With rumours circulating that the HTC One Max could also house a fingerprint scanner there’s hope that even more manufacturers will adopt this technology in their high-end handsets over the coming months. Although, it’s likely that devices on cheap phone contracts could also end up getting a slice of the action as firms like Samsung look to stretching their high-end innovations to an even wider user base.
Amidst all the hype it’s important to remember that this isn’t the first time this technology has reared its head. In 2011 Motorola’s Atrix hit the market featuring a scanner mounted on the rear top-edge. It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago no one was particularly blown away by the concept, and as a result neither the device nor the technology really caught on.
However, with mobile technology continuing to advance more users are starting to rely on their handsets for all manner of tasks, so it’s understandable that security methods will change with it.
Paul Henry, security and forensic analyst at software solutions firm Lumension, said fingerprint authentication could turn out to be the next big thing in mobile. “There are two factors that will determine the real success of this new feature, which has undeniable potential. First, reliability and second, security…it should really be security first.”
Today the mobile market is dominated by touchscreen devices, like the Galaxy S4, which have led users to become increasingly accustomed to swiping their way round a mobile interface. So, it seems like an obvious evolution to extend the power of your finger and use it for keeping your mobile content out of harms way.
But, how exactly does the technology work? Well, fingerprint scanners use electrical currents that read the tiny indentations in a fingerprint. Sensors cover the tip of the finger to read a user’s individual make-up and distinguish whether it’s the correct person before unlocking the device.
No fingerprint is the same so it seems like the ideal method to keep hackers at bay. However, should you scratch your skin or there’s a change to your print the system could prove to be so secure that it won’t grant you access to your own handset.
Fingerprint scanning may still be in the early stages, but with Apple already showing confidence in the technology it’s highly likely that other manufacturers will follow suit sooner rather than later. As a result it could prove to be a real game-changer in the realms of mobile security, while putting an end to those forgotten passwords forever.