Attempts to move beyond password authentication look to have just received a nice little boost, with interface-specialists Synaptics announcing its new Match-in-Sensor, billed as the first self-contained fingerprint matching device.
Fingerprint sensors are something we are starting to see a lot more of, following the introduction of Apple's Touch ID on the iPhone 5s along with similar technologies on flagship smartphones from other big players like Samsung and HTC. While the ingeniously cryptic "password123" may have been enough to stave off malicious attacks in the past, cybersecurity these days warrants a little more diligence. Just ask Jennifer Lawrence.
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Fingerprint sensors like these offer an added level of security, but because fingerprint data needs to be communicated back and forth with the host device, the door is left ajar form hardware attacks and system malware, according to Synaptics. And it says these risks are only likely to increase as we use our devices more for financial transactions.
The company's "off-grid" solution promises new degrees of security by isolating the entire process from a host device like your phone or computer, minimizing the chances of somebody else getting their fingers on your prints.
Creating a physical separation between the fingerprint scanning device and the device it is designed to safeguard is made possible by System on Chip architecture. This sees the single device with an in-sensor microprocessor carry out functions such as print imaging, pattern storage and biometric matching, all on its own.
"The entire mobile payments ecosystem, driven by rapid adoption of fingerprint authentication technology, is increasingly concerned about reducing security risks and eliminating threats of attack," says Ritu Favre, senior vice president and general manager, Biometric Products Division, Synaptics. "Match-in-Sensor technology provides for the requirements of smartphone manufacturers, the convenience for end-users, and the security for online service providers when authenticating their customers."
Synaptics is currently sampling Match-in-Sensor technology with "key OEMs."