Will Iris Scanning Become The New Login?


Daniel Newman

October 7, 2016

Iris scanning for logging into consumer devices isn’t James Bond fanfiction. It is a real possibility, and, at this point almost a certainty, that iris scanning will become the world’s new norm for logging into consumer devices. If you are skeptical about this as a future norm, you aren’t alone. But as identity theft increases and information safety concerns grow, iris scanning may be the key to finally achieving true security.

The need for a better, more secure way of locking your device has been around since technology’s debut. Especially today, as mobile workplaces and BYOD (bring your own device) trends take over, businesses need a way to ensure that their company devices aren’t vulnerable to hackers. Enter iris scanning – the top feature smartphone companies are pushing right now.

Join The Call For Enhanced Security

You may be thinking, “What’s wrong with the fingerprint scanner on my device now?” Well, fingerprint scanners are better than punching in codes but take the time to read one of the many articles on how hackers can steal your fingerprints, how you can fool the scanner “as easy as ABC,” and other such enlightening reads. Early fingerprint scanners were problematic, and other biometric scanning methods have issues that make the public return to classic methods such as passwords and personal identification numbers (PINs).

Microsoft’s Lumia 950 smartphones already have an iris scanning feature, and Samsung is advertising it as a feature on its next device, the Galaxy Note 7. Apple is racing to catch up and aims to bring iris scanning to the iPhone in 2018. As mobile banking apps and smartphone payment methods become more popular, device developers recognize the need for a form of security that’s more, well, secure than a password, swipe pattern, or fingerprint.

Retinal scans cannot be copied like fingerprint scans, and they do not change over time. Each person’s retina is 100 percent unique. Government offices and high-security offices have used iris scanners for years as a means of unlocking doors, computers, and machines.

Don’t Ignore The Pitfalls Of Iris Scanning

Iris scanning is incontestably the most secure method to protect sensitive information, but this does not automatically make it the best method. As companies race to add this feature to mobile devices, the questions of whether consumers will actually use it and how well it will perform plague the future of this technology.

Irises have over 200 points of differentiation, which makes scanning ideal for security applications. However, this many points requires a longer scanning time. It’s a well-known fact that convenience facilitates adoption. If the iris scanner takes significantly longer than the fingerprint scanner or other methods – most take about 30 seconds – it may discourage users from turning on the feature.

In the past, price was another downside of iris scanning, but as the technology has become more standardized, the price has dropped. Now, the main concern is whether the iris scanner will actually work. Brian Martin, director of biometric research at MorphoTrust, cites problems that companies must overcome, such as bright sunlight, reflections, eyeglasses, colored contact lenses, and eye conditions that alter the iris. Martin mentions that state-of-the-art iris scanners can deal with these environmental conditions, but there’s no guarantee the average smartphone will have such sophisticated equipment.

So far, banking companies have been fastest on the scene when it comes to embracing consumer iris scanners. Iris scanners in banks have the potential to make financial matters much more secure, as well as speed up the authentication process versus traditional identification methods. The Gatwick Airport in London added an iris scanner to its passenger authentication systems, and law enforcement agencies in Missouri used the technology to build its records management and tracking system.

Embrace The Future Of Digital Security

As iris scanning technology leaves the world of science fiction and enters the mainstream, I bet you will see it in your daily life at some point in the future – whether in your personal mobile device or at your local bank. Foreign adoption of iris scanning technologies in consumer products such as smartphones may drive the trend here in the states. My advice is to embrace the new technology, even if it delays your daily activities by a few seconds, for the enhanced protection it offers. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated by the minute, and I’m all for a new way to combat them.

This article was written by Daniel Newman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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