Fingerprints to Improve Email & Online Security

Fingerprints are set to point way to better email and online security.

Deloitte says that touch technology will rescue consumers from password overload. The need to remember huge numbers of online passwords may be replaced by using fingerprints to unlock not just smartphones but also websites and services, according to a new report.fingerprints security

Paul Lee, head of technology, media, and telecoms research at Deloitte, said that using fingerprints to access email, online banking, streaming services such as Spotify and Netflix and newspaper subscriptions would help consumers who may feel overwhelmed by the number of passwords they have to remember.

Companies that sell subscriptions could start to use fingerprints rather than a password login to stop illegitimate sharing of accounts. “You can share a password but not a fingerprint,” said Mr. Lee. Deloitte said that while fingerprints have taken a long time to gain traction, the technology has taken off during the past three years.

The company interviewed 4,000 people and said that 31 percent of 18-24 year-olds were using the fingerprint scanners on their phones, compared with 8 per cent of those aged over 65. Deloitte predicts there will be one billion smartphones with fingerprint readers in use by the end of next year and that the technology will spread to cheaper models.

The first fingerprint reader was launched on a mobile phone almost a decade ago.

Toshiba adapted the identification function from its laptops to a little- remembered handset, the Portege G500. Motorola tried again with the Atrix 4G in 2011 before Apple’s iPhone 5s pushed the technology into the mainstream when it incorporated “Touch ID” in 2013.

Toshiba adapted the identification function from its laptops to a little- remembered handset, the Portege G500. Motorola tried again with the Atrix 4G in 2011 before Apple’s iPhone 5s pushed the technology into the mainstream when it incorporated “Touch ID” in 2013.

But the impact of the authentication technology was not immediate, despite the hype. Mr. Lee, the author of the Deloitte Mobile Consumer Survey said that the issue for many users had been that fingerprint scanning was associated with criminality and “having your fingerprints taken”. Now non-criminals are sharing their most personal identification with total strangers.

People have dozens of online accounts. They cannot remember that many different passwords so chances are, unless they use a site like LastPass, they will use the same one. The fingerprint provides an alternative. Deloitte calculates that in the UK alone, the tips of our fingers are now read more than 100 billion times a year.

But passwords with all their varieties are here to stay for a while. The company’s research showed that 63 percent of the people it surveyed still rely on passwords and PINs to unlock their mobile phones, with a further 30 percent not bothering to lock their phones at all. With a lot of online activity happening from mobile devices, it makes sense that a fingerprint tool would increase the security of emails and need-to-be-secure websites.

Special thanks to Financial Times.

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