New iPhone Fingerprint Reader Increases Security but Misses Point

There’s been a lot of discussion of the new fingerprint reader, dubbed Touch ID, in the next iteration of the iPhone that Apple announced last week. Many have commended Apple for implementing biometric authentication right, including using a high-quality reader and only storing fingerprint data on the phone, while others have lamented its failings, such as depending only on this one factor for authentication and allowing its use in iTunes purchases.

Overall, I say bravo for someone finally bringing biometric authentication to the masses. For the vast majority of users that do not even use a simple PIN for security (around 50% according to some sources), forcing fingerprint validation by default is a huge leap forward for the overall user population. For others that already use a PIN, migrating to Touch ID ups the ante from an easily bruteforcd 10,000 possible codes to a relative limitless number of random passwords derived from a hash of user fingerprint features and hopefully other data (e.g., the phones UDID).

But for the rest of us more security conscience types going through the pain of using a strong password, I would still probably stick with that option for now. Ideally, Apple should have provided a two-factor authentication option so even the most paranoid of us could revert from a cumbersome complex password to a simpler PIN combined with a fingerprint. For the life of me I can’t figure out why they did not offer this feature out of the gate. Perhaps future iterations of the iOS will permit it…

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What do you think of the new iPhone Touch ID feature? Let us know in the comments below. Today’s post pic is from MacRumors.com. See ya!

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