Happy Easter: Fingerprint Passwords?

Saturday 15th April 2017
Passwords: a universal pain joke!

Having wasted a day’s work trying to get a jumble of Apple passwords to work, Gaberlunzie today has wasted another whole hour trying to acquire a new password, but despite offering his name, his email address and taking those stupid “I am not a robot” trials Apple refuses to have ever heard of him and will issue neither password nor any form of access.

So his big, work laptop, and  his iPad, and his backup iPhone are totally useless and mean yet another unproductive day,  and while Apple boasts its amazing security partnership with Google, all hopes of acquiring Bear software for the iPad fades away. Might as well chuck his digital devices in the bin. and get back to pen and paper. Having been diagnosed as “cognitively challenged” he feels this may be his last attempt at anything computing or even newsworthy and perhaps he needs to concentrate either on writing that book, or somehow getting any job.

But Gaberlunzie was mildly amused at the fact that fingerprint sensors, dubbed miracles of convenience to unlock phones without passwords have proved to have limitations and can easily be fooled by “fake fingerprints”  digitally composed using the many common features found in human prints.   With services like Android or Apple  Pay, a fingerprint can buy into a bag of groceries, a new laptop or even an Aston Martin as pressing a finger inside a banking app allows a user to pay bills or transfer thousands of dollars.

 In computer simulations, the researchers from the universities were able to develop a set of artificial “MasterPrints” that could match real prints similar to those used by phones as much as 65 percent of the time. The researchers did not test their approach with real phones, and other security experts said the match rate would be significantly lower in real-life conditions. But the findings raise troubling questions about the effectiveness of fingerprint security on smartphones. 

“If all I want to do is take your phone and use your Apple Pay to buy stuff, if I can get into 1 in 10 phones, that’s not bad odds”  commented Andy Adler,  (right) professor of systems and computer engineering at Carleton University in Canada.

The download button opens the iTunes App Store, where you may continue the download process. You must have iTunes installed with an active iTunes account in order to download and install the software. This download may not be available in some countries. If Gaberlunzie could only succeed with one of the hundred or so passwords he has had over his long life, it would beat the Easter bunny and any eggs.


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