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Iris recognition for Samsung smartphones

Plans to provide the technology for low-end phones.

By CBR Staff Writer

The idea of losing a high-end smartphone filled with memories in the form of pictures, videos and messages is something unimaginable these days.

Major mobile manufacturers are finding new ways to ensure security of their devices, with biometrics being the latest technology used.

Apple’s iPhone 5S and Samsung’s Galaxy S5 have integrated fingerprint scanners authentication.

Samsung is now planning to extend the use of biometrics in its mobile phones, with emphasis on the use of human iris recognition technology.

The mobile phone maker intends to initially bring in the technology to its high-end phones and then spread it to low-end smartphones as well.

Samsung senior vice president Rhee In-jong told the Wall St. Journal, "We’re looking at various types of biometric [mechanisms] and one of things that everybody is looking at is iris detection."

The company is going ahead with its research at a time the authenticity of fingerprint technology on S5 is being questioned.

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US Senator Al Franken wrote a letter to Samsung last week asking about the steps the company has taken to secure sensitive biometric information.

Franken argues that whereas passwords and PIN can be changed any number of times, fingerprints are unchangeable. They are also left behind by everywhere from car door to a glass of water.

He says, "If hackers get hold of a digital copy of your fingerprint, they could use it to impersonate you for the rest of your life, particularly as more and more technologies start relying on fingerprint authentication."

The senator wrote a similar letter to Apple last year raising questions about the storage and retrieval of its fingerprint technology Touch ID used in iPhone 5S.

A team from Security Research Labs in Germany hacked into Galaxy S5 in April to demonstrate the vulnerability of the technology. They took a high resolution image of fingerprint retrieved from the mobile screen, implanted it on a rubber mould and used it to hack into the smartphone.

The same process was used by the team earlier to hack an iPhone 5S. But they say Samsung is more vulnerable as it allows infinite number of attempts at unlocking the phone while Apple’s Touch ID offers only three attempts.

Photo courtesy of jscreationzs/

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