Biometric Scanner

Thumbprint Scanner

The Downsides Of Using A Thumbprint Scanner


With a Thumbprint Scanner, you get improved levels of security without having to remember all those different PINs and passwords. Thumbprint Scanners make our everyday existence easier and simplified, although there ar some issues of course associated with their use.

How many times you have found yourself in a difficult situation trying to remember the PIN code of your credit card, or the login combination for your email, or the entire Windows operating system. There are so many different passwords that we have to remember these days that it gets quite hard and absolutely impossible at times. Good news is that the science of biometrics is beginning to catch up with computer manufacturers.

A person's fingerprint doesn't change during the course of the entire life, which is a good thing in terms of the thumbprint scanner technology, but it also raises certain privacy issues. Identity theft has also been a serious threat and with something that does never change, like the fingerprint, things can get really dangerous if an attacker gains access to your files.

Here is what Matthew Lewis, a secruity expert from UK, had to say on the subject:"The problem with biometrics is that instead of a user's password or swipe card becoming a target of attack, the user becomes the target themselves: their voice, their eyes, their fingers, their hand geometry, and so on. With most modern authentication systems, if your authentication credentials were compromised, you could always be issued with new credentials."

Despite all the advancements made in this technology, and the fact that biometrics is indeed a security solution of the future, there are some ways to fool a thumbprint scanner. In the show MythBusters, a thumbprint scanner used to guard a room was fooled with nothing more than a licked photocopy of the relevant finger. More sophisticated scanners can be much more difficult to trick, but keep in mind that the hacking community is just beginning to investigate techniques for breaking those tools.

Another issue about the use of a thumbprint scanner is in the fact that a hacker can attack the templates produced by the device. The thing is that, although each fingerprint is unique, a thumbprint scanner doesn't save the entire image of the fingerprint, but only certain portions of information. Certain models might only capture as much as four bits of random data. Hence, for the typical desktop computer, guessing the content of such a file is a breeze, and in many cases, it's easier than guessing a traditional password.

The thumbprint scanner typically has a 35mm thick sensor over which, the user has to move his index finger to produce the necessary image. An infrared laser is used for reading. There is also a portable thumbprint scanner.

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