Fingerprints Aren’t the Passwords of Tomorrow—Here’s Why - WebINTENSIVE Software
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Mar 27, 2014 Fingerprints Aren’t the Passwords of Tomorrow—Here’s Why

Samsung has opened the API of its Galaxy S5 phone’s fingerprint scanner to third-party developers. Does this mean mobile users will soon be signing into all their apps with just the touch of a finger? Probably not.

Fingerprint ID has undeniable appeal. Fingerprints are very distinctive and hard to fake. They don’t need to be memorized, fit into whatever restrictions a given site has chosen or be securely recorded—always the Achilles’ heel of passwords. On the other hand, passwords or passphrases can be changed at will. Our fingerprints are forever, and we leave them on everything we touch.

If tech-savvy people are determined to fool the technology, history suggests they’ll find a way. When Apple unveiled its iPhone fingerprint reader in September 2013, a group of German hackers took only two days to bypass it using a latex copy of a user’s fingerprint. If fingerprint ID became the standard, criminals would have a massive incentive to find new and better ways to pull off such exploits.

While fingerprints may not replace passwords anytime soon, Samsung is smart to see what the developer community can do with this technology. For example, fingerprint recognition could be a useful adjunct to passwords in two-factor authentication—and it may have other interesting use cases as well.