In the IFA 2016 fair, and among the protagonists of the event have been new desktops, laptops and convertibles manufacturers like Lenovo, Asus or Acer. Yoga designs such as the HP Pavilion Book or Wave we have marveled, but more important are the long-term best practices that will affect the safety of these devices.
Finally we begin to see the integration of components that will help logging in Windows – based computers to benefit from Windows Hello technology. The fingerprint sensors accompanying several of these devices are combined with Real Sense cameras and a third trend that gradually also is taking hold: the authentication proximity with our mobile devices such as smartphones and smart watches.
Portable fingerprint sensors, next trend?
The Asus Zenbook 3 is one of those teams that surprised by how to integrate these solutions. In the touchpad of these teams are integrated fingerprint sensors that can be used to log on to Windows without having to enter passwords.
Such solutions are not entirely new ago – years that some manufacturers include them – but it is the fact finally be natively supported in Windows 10, something that certainly could accelerate its implementation.
It is not the only example, of course: some of the new Acer Swift also offer this though sensor on the right side of prepositional- and as in the previous case best of all is that this component works natively with Windows Hello, technology that Microsoft has built into Windows 10 and also can be combined with two – step authentication.
Technology made its practical appearance in the Lumia 950 and XL 950 a few months ago: in them the secret was in the iris recognition. As we mentioned in this analysis technique it seems to have much more sense on desktops and laptops we use looking at the screen.
This natural interaction with such cameras compatible with Windows Hello should begin to also be part of laptops and desktops, but at the moment the number of compatible models is limited. Intel RealSense cameras that are already part of equipment manufacturers such as Lenovo, Acer or HP allow access to this useful function, but the fact is that a quick decision is expected by the manufacturers from now on.
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Those two biometric alternatives are increasingly adds another interesting: do not use our own physical characteristics such as password, but using a mobile device or wearable that belongs to us and that we carry with us.
The authentication proximity is available for example in the latest software version of Apple Watch and the operating system of Apple through the Auto feature Unlock , although in fact there were tools like Knock precisely offered that option as an option to users of these devices in the Apple ecosystem.
Chromebooks also offer that option if you have a smartphone or Android – based smart watch or Android Wear respectively: the Smart Lock feature that not only makes use of trusted devices, but also for those facial recognition authentication processes.
In Microsoft they have also begun to offer this option in Windows 10 with the last Anniversary Update this summer, and the support of this option is present for example in the Microsoft Band 2 but also on Windows Phone or Android devices. For now not entirely clear how we can use for example our Android device, but Microsoft suggests initial alternatives such as a USB memory or NFC standard in the developer documentation.
Do not confuse comfort with security
All of these platforms are a priori the future of proximity authentication systems and biometric systems, but in reality it is best to combine several security elements, which is typical when talking authentication. In fact, it is best to use all possible variants:
- Something you are (fingerprint, iris)
- Something you have (a mobile, smartphone)
- Something you know (a password), and
- Something you do (a signature, the way you speak).
As with fingerprint sensors of our smartphones, these mechanisms are not absolute guarantors of our security, and indeed should associate it more as a practical improvement with enhanced security. Ideally also establish a pattern or PIN to access all or at least some operations of the system in the case of using smartphone, and password on portable or desktop computers (at least if you do not use a physical token or other measures) to have that plus additional security.
What brings Windows Hello is indeed a practical improvement that will help our interaction and workflow with our desktops, laptops and mobile easier and faster. We should avoid introducing those pesky passwords at the beginning of each session, but that does not mean that the fingerprint, iris, our face or our device – whether that sea – become our working environment into something much safer. Do not confuse improvement practice (which is very clear) with improved security (which is sensitive, but not as pronounced).Tags: Biometrics, laptop, PC