Sep 19 2013, 1:29pm CDT | by Bijon Kumar Pramanik
As usual with Apple’s new device releases, there has been a lot of talk about the new iPhone 5c and 5s. Many drool over the new colors and features, especially the new Touch ID fingerprint reader. Experts are already making predictions about future applications of this technology, but how secure is it?
Some are saying that Apple’s fingerprint scanner is to be feared. There are already well-established reports of its biometric security problems, as with many related technologies. Take retinal scanning as an example. It was once used by some government and military departments, but they had to switch to iris scanning because of issues, such as the confusion pregnancy causes with the readings. Facial recognition proved a security technology that was easy to defeat. In some cases, all it took to fool a facial recognition scanner was the person’s photo.
What does that imply for Apple’s new Touch ID? How easy is it to defeat? Apple claims that since it is not optical-based, it can’t be fooled by fingerprint pictures. Instead, this device senses the sub dermal layer of the skin. Apple also claims that since the data is not sent or stored in the cloud, hacking would prove very difficult. While all of this might reassure some, security experts continue to remain optimistic only cautiously. They say it is a better alternative to weak passwords, but that does not mean fingerprints cannot be copied. Moreover, your fingerprint is something that cannot be changed without extensive surgery.
All of these considerations have some very worried about the security of this device. Security issues with a fingerprint scanner can prove more difficult than others to recover from. After all, as some point out, once fingerprints are compromised, they will most likely remain compromised forever.
Bijon Kumar Pramanik
Bijon Kumar Pramanik is an experienced technology writer working since years in the consumer electronics field.
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