Mobile devices are increasingly becoming personal and ubiquitous — which means you’re probably carrying more personal information on your smartphone than your wallet. This comes with a host of security issues, of course. If you lose your smartphone or tablet, then whoever picks it up might be able to glean a lot of information about you, to the extent that your device can be a potential threat to the security of your identity.
You lock your phone anyway, you say? But a Consumer Reports survey done earlier this year indicates that only a third of Americans bother to lock their devices with at least a four-digit PIN. Most don’t even bother with a swiping screen lock. Perhaps one of the reasons for the lack of security is the convenience. Rather than spend a few extra seconds fumbling for the correct pattern or PIN, just swiping away the lock screen (or pressing the power/sleep button) is much, much easier.
Developers and platform owners have tried to address this through biometrics, such as fingerprint recognition and even the not-so-popular face unlock feature on Android. Flagship devices from both Apple and Samsung come with fingerprint scanners, for instance. And while the primary goal is to improve access to security features whilst unlocking the phone, fingerprint scanners can also make it easier to do financial transactions like online payments.
Yet another technology being tested today involves retinal scans. In a tweet on @SamsungExynos, Samsung teases that eye scans could be an added security improvement unique to the company. This is likely to go beyond unlocking the device itself. The scan also has potential use in authenticating a user when making online payments and purchases.
Now the question is which biometric unlocking technology would you want to come as standard on your device? Or should we be content with using PINs, passwords and patterns?