Security warning for HTC One Max fingerprint tech

“A fingerprint scan is a poor substitute for a password,” says Kaspersky, despite benefits offered by the tech
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HTC has followed in the footsteps of Apple by deciding to add a fingerprint scanner to its new One Max mobile.

But while security experts are praising what appears to be the next step in smartphone security, some are warning that fingerprint scanning may not be as secure as you think.

“Many people don't use a PIN, let alone a more complex passcode, because of the hassle involved. So a fingerprint scan may well have the effect of increasing the level of security for most people using an HTC,” said David Emm, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Labs.

“But because of the nature of fingerprints, you effectively leave your password everywhere you go. So unless a fingerprint reader is able to fully distinguish between a real finger and a fake one, a fingerprint scan is a poor substitute for a password.”

SecurEnvoy’s technical director Andy Kemsahall agrees that people should be wary of authentication methods which involve their own body parts. 

“It sounds extreme but if a terrorist wants to use someone's fingerprint to access important information about a high profile company, they might take the whole finger…”

Despite the possible pitfalls of fingerprint scanners, Kemsahall and Emm both agree that Apple’s iPhone 5S and HTC’s One Max are the first of a long line of smartphones that will implement this technology.

“Where Apple leads, others predictably follow,” said Kemsahall. “It looks inevitable that this technology will become standard across all devices.”

Emm added: “The ease with which the technology can be used is likely to mean that we’ll see further implementation of fingerprint scanners on smartphones.”

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