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Will The iPhone 5S’s Fingerprint Scanner Kill The Password?

Submitted by on September 11, 2013 – 10:36 amNo Comment

It’s not quite as catchy as “video killing the radio star,” but we could be witnessing a major moment in technology. Yesterday, Apple unveiled their new flagship iPhone 5S, and with it, a built in fingerprint scanner in the Home button. While the function would certainly replace passwords and passcodes in the iPhone, if Apple is successfully in putting a functional fingerprint reader in a consumer product, it could quickly spread throughout the entire industry.

According to the introductory video, the fingerprint scanner will unlock the iPhone, but also enable purchases and logins during use of the phone and its apps.

The addition is meant to enhance ease and speed of transactions (that makes sense, I usually end up typing in my Apple ID password a dozen times before I get it right). But it could also set a new standard for security, as CNET explains:

Apple’s bid to future-proof the iPhone meshes well with existing security shifts and trends such as epidemic levels of phishing, device thefts, and malware. Its new fingerprint sensor likely means basic password security will take a backseat in favor of an increased focus on personal online identity. And it could negate the need for two-factor authenticationand password-reset questions.

There’s just one problem. As the same article notes, fingerprint scanning is notoriously imprecise and has often been fooled.

In addition, Apple has to contend with the world’s heightened jitters over anything involving technology and biometrics. In the video, Dan Riccio, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, assures that fingerprint data will always be stored securely within the phone itself, and never in the cloud.

What do you think? Are you excited for the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner?

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