Today’s news has been about how bad an idea was to use fingerprint as a login mechanism (Ars Technica). Apple’s iPhone had a similar mechanism and it was broken in 48 hours by someone swiping a lifted fingerprint (Ars Technica, again). Mythbuster had an episode whereby the latest in fingerprint locks (fingerprint+pulse+heat+skin conductivity) was broken by having someone lick a plastic mold of a fingerprint.
In short: Passwords can be changed, fingerprints can’t.
But I disagree that fingerprints can’t be used as a convenient way to grant authorized access. It’s only the current implementation made it simple and easy to break. Sure you leave fingerprints all over the place, and once someone has your prints it becomes impossible to change it. But no one say it has to be just 1 print per scan.
A better way would be to adopt common good password practices, instead this time we apply it to number of fingerprint swipes.
- Password length = fingerprint swipes
- Password complexity = random fingers (we have 10, take a pick)
- Password history = length + complexity combo history
- Example: Fingerprint password of 3 length + complexity = Left Thumb -> Left Middle -> Left Pinky finger. 3 swipes.
This way even when someone has your prints they have no idea which finger you use, for how many swipes, or in what combination.