Fingerprint Technology Could Replace Traditional Passwords
March 18, 2013

Apple Among Smartphone Companies Experimenting With Fingerprint, Voice Authentication Technologies

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

Next-generation smartphone technology could lead to a next-generation solution for the password currently used to help secure and protect the information stored upon those all-important devices.

According to Claire Ellicott of the Daily Mail, many technology companies view traditional passwords as “an outdated security risk as consumers often forget the increasingly complicated combinations and criminals break the codes.” That viewpoint has led many phone makers and third-party device manufacturers to explore alternative methods, including fingerprint, voice and facial recognition software, she added.

Among them is Apple, which the Telegraph´s Shane Richmond reports is planning to develop an iPhone which can only be unlocked by the owner´s fingerprint. Those rumors first surfaced last summer when the Cupertino, California-based tech giant purchased biometric security firm AuthenTec. As a result of that acquisition, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo told both Richmond and Jason Gilbert of the Huffington Post that his firm expects the iPhone 5S to come equipped with a (possibly optional) fingerprint authentication chip located below the device´s Home button when it is released later this year.

Apple is not alone in attempting to do away with the password, however. Ellicott said that Google, the company behind Android OS smartphones, is currently experimenting with a variety of different, alternative security methods. Among them are voice recognition software, eye scanners, behavioral biometrics, and even heartbeat monitors. Samsung, on the other hand, has utilized facial recognition scanners since the release of the Galaxy S3 last year, Richmond said. The newest Galaxy model, the recently-released S4, reportedly improves upon that feature.

“Many companies are hoping that these security features could soon be used in place of passwords for websites and mobile applications. Instead of having to remember complicated passwords, fingerprint identification would be quicker, easier and more secure,” Richmond said.

Late last month, a line of smartphone and notebook accessories that add an additional layer of security were unveiled during the Mobile World Congress, according to Laptop Staff Writer Daniel Berg. The ProtecQ line of hardware works with Android and Windows devices and allow for the use of fingerprint scanners with both smartphones and notebook computers, Berg explained.

“The most compelling product was the ProtecQ mobile solutions for Android smartphones,” he added. “Our favorite was the smartphone case that includes a fingerprint scanner on the back, which unlocks messages and applications on the device. Using the secure proprietary messaging app, users can send and receive encrypted messages, which are only decrypted when a preset fingerprint is scanned. Additionally, the application allows users to put individual applications behind lock and key, preventing unauthorized use.”