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Contributed By:

Mitch Kroener

News | Technology | Business | Science | Economy

Biometric Security Comes To Your Smartphone

OPB | Sept. 24, 2013 12:15 p.m. | Updated: Sept. 24, 2013 1:30 p.m.

Apple’s new iPhone 5S – which features a fingerprint security scanner – hit stores last Friday. Today, Apple announced that sales topped 9 million iPhones on the opening weekend, significantly surpassing experts’ estimates which ranged from 5 to 7.75 million.  However, before the company could publicly toast its success, a German hacking group called The Chaos Computing Club (CCC) released a video claiming to have successfully hacked the fingerprint scanner. The CCC’s video shows a high-resolution photo of an iPhone user’s fingerprint being printed onto a translucent sheet and applied to a “fake finger” which was then used to unlock the device.

While the hacking of TouchID has raised concerns about the reliability of Apple’s new scanner, the future of biometric technology holds tremendous promise for electronic security. Retina scanners and facial recognition software have already begun to show up in consumer technology, but other methods currently in development promise to identify users by their heart rates, their particular method of typing on or swiping a device, and other subtle behaviors. Still, others worry that biometric security features come with their own inherent concerns: while a hacked password can be changed, a hacked fingerprint or retina presents a far more complex problem.

Have you bought a new iPhone 5S? What do you think of the security features?


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