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The iPhone 5s’s Fingerprint Scanner: A Feasible Security Feature?

The iPhone 5s’s Fingerprint Scanner: A Feasible Security Feature?

So the iPhone 5s along with the 5c has finally been announced after a very suspenseful wait and the two new models have gotten reviews equally as mixed from fans the world over. One half is ecstatic and cannot be more pleased that Apple has lived up to their motto of clean and simplistic designs and technology once again, whereas the other half are disappointed that the 5s doesn’t differ all that much from its predecessor, the iPhone 5. What is your stand on the new iPhone 5s and 5c?

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The first thing people need to understand is that with the “s” following the number, the model is only going to be a slight improvement of the previous. It is only when they come out with a different numerical number altogether (like the iPhone 5 compared to the iPhone 4) that one can expect a new overhaul of design, function, and major upgrades. In other words, with the “s” models, Apple is only offering minor, but still significant upgrades to the previous model.

One big difference the iPhone 5s has that stands it out from all the previous models, is undoubtedly its new fingerprint scanning feature that comes embedded in the Home button. The fingerprint scanner allows users to log in more quickly, Apple said, and will help prevent unauthorized access from someone who guessed or stole the owner’s pass code or phrase. However, we have our qualms about whether or not such a security measure is a great idea.

Here are some reasons why we’re sceptical!

1. A large database of fingerprint records at the exposal of one corporation?

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To enable such technology, a record of all the fingerprints collected has to be stored somewhere (we’re looking at the iCloud) for future reference and access. Storing such a huge amount of sensitive data isn’t only dangerous, it’s asking for trouble as anyone with access to such huge name to fingerprint data can hack into just about anything. Imagine what others can do with this stolen fingerprints. A lot of banks, social security accounts and other sensitive records can be unlocked with a simple fingerprint authentication, not to mention certain cars, safeboxes, even the front door to your own home. We say that’s giving away one very important sensitive part of yourself, in hopes that no one would use it against you. Why take that risk?

2. What happens if a mugger wants to steal your phone? Do they chop off your thumb too?

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Snatch-thieves and muggers aren’t uncommon in a country like ours. In fact, it happens so often that we don’t even blink our eyes twice when it happens these days. These robbers, they usually want things that can be quickly obtained, easy to carry and are worth some quick money when pawned — in other words, things like our cellphones, on top of cash, which would be their number one preferred loot I reckon. Now if a phone cannot be unlocked without the owner’s thumbprint, imagine what a frustrated mugger, desperate for money, would do to gain that access quickly and effortlessly? The key to unlocking the device lies in our thumbs. Phones are replacable, but our fingers are not once permanent damage is done to them.

3. Fingerprints can be easily lifted off surfaces with a sheet of plastic.

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Lifting someone’s fingerprint isn’t really as hard as we assume. Anyone who has watched enough CSI or read enough Agatha Christie would know that with a little dusting powder and a sheet of sticky clear plastic, you can lift a whole fingerprint off the most unsuspecting surfaces — a glass your victim took a drink from, or the button of the elevator your victim just got off. And just like that their fingerprint is now at your access, as is all the data they have stored on their phone, or any other device they employ a fingerprint scan lock. You can even keep that sheet of plastic for future re-use.

4. Sleep is for the weak.

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With a fingerprint scan lock, there is almost zero leeway for mistaken access. Imagine if you were a cheating spouse and the only thing keeping your other half from finding out about your affair is that she has no access to your messages and phonecalls to your mistress. She will need your fingerprint to unlock your phone, so that makes it almost impossible for her to access your phone without your knowledge or free-will then, right? Wrong. What about when you’re asleep? All she needs to do is swipe your finger over the Home button once and your deepest, darkest secrets are laid out for her to pick. She wouldn’t even have to crack her head trying to figure out what your security passcode is. One swipe unlocks all. You might probably be thinking the cheating swine deserved it, but what if it were other more sensitive information, like your plans to surprise propose to her, or that surprise second honeymoon you’re planning to take her on? Or what about if you’re so drunk you passed out and you have friends who would not hesitate to go through your phone searching for embarrassing information to blackmail you with in the future? The negative possibilities are about endless.

5. What if you injured yourself?

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Lastly, this isn’t really all that big or pressing a question as the other four above-mentioned, but we can’t help but wonder nonetheless. What if you accidentally injured your thumb? Does that mean you cant access your phone throughout the entire healing period?

So what do you think? Is the fingerprint scanner on the new iPhone 5s a feasible security feature?

 

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