Will the IPhone Fingerprint Scanner Pose a Security Risk?

September 20, 2013

3:00 pm

If you purchased the iPhone 5 earlier this year, you’re probably kicking yourself. If only you had waited a few months, you could use that upgrade for the much-anticipated iPhone 5S.

Now you’ll pay either full price for your new device or you’ll have to wait until your next upgrade becomes available.

The iPhone 5S comes with several new features. But the one that has users most excited is the fingerprint recognition system that enables you to activate your phone with just your fingerprint as ID and unlocking tool.

This should eliminate the occasional hacking of your social media accounts by friends or coworkers who play practical jokes by updating your Facebook status and Twitter feeds. It will eliminate the accidental deletion of apps and data when your kids get a hold of your phone with the hope of getting to play Angry Birds.

It will also create some major security bonuses for companies who rely heavily on security to keep their information intact.

Security Concerns

While the average person — basically those of us who are not employed by major corporations with security issues — won’t really need the fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone, many people will appreciate it. Those who have real security concerns, such as folks who work on top-secret projects with major corporations, government employees and the like, will appreciate this new feature.

What the new fingerprint application provides is the ability to keep all your information private. No longer can hackers use your date of birth, your wedding anniversary, or any other combination of numbers that are important to you, to hack your passcode.

Since many of us routinely use numbers that are easy to remember, it’s also easy for hackers to gain access to your phone and the information stored inside. This is risky for people who use their phones for sensitive activities, particularly related to their work.

Negative Aspects of Fingerprint Phones

Privacy concerns are always paramount when it comes to sensitive and private data. For example, if your phone contains highly sensitive emails and correspondence, notes, or information for your job, your security is vulnerable.

Additionally, since your phone is going to have your fingerprint stored inside, does this provide further security issues for organizations that use fingerprint recognition for employee entry into classified areas of buildings? With your fingerprint on your phone, does it put your identity at risk in other ways?

The short answer is no. Apple made it clear upon their announcement regarding the new iPhone 5S fingerprint security measure that your fingerprint will be stored in your iPhone, but it will be inaccessible to hackers, making it impossible for your fingerprint ever to depart from your phone.

Security Benefits

So far, the new iPhone 5S has shown that it will be a valuable asset to businesses with classified information. Even with your phone in hand, criminals and hackers will not be able to access your stored fingerprint.

The biggest security implication of this new device presents is the fact that spouses, children, and family members will no longer be able to get into your phone and access your information. This raises the possibility that kids and teens could hide their cellular activity from parents, spouses to conceal their infidelities, and so on.

In the business world, the new iPhone 5S will surely prove beneficial. For wives who like to keep an eye on their husband’s text messages, husbands who like to keep an eye on their wife’s Internet usage, and parents who like to see what their kids are doing on their phone, this new security feature might be a present a challenge and frustration.

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Drew Hendricks is a professional business and startup blogger that writes for a variety of sites including The Huffington Post, Forbes and Technorati. Drew has worked at a variety of different startups as well as large advertising agencies.

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