Could Myris bring eye-scanning to the mainstream? Mouse-sized dongle offers better security than fingerprints, makers claim

A tiny new iris-scanner which plugs into smart devices and PCs could eradicate the need for passwords entirely – and it offers a far higher level of security than fingerprint scanners, with a ‘false positive’ chance of just 1 in 2.25 trillion, and near-instant operation, according to makers Eyelock.

The handheld works faster than traditional iris scans by using video, and scanning each frame for the data it needs. On PC, the software replaces all your passwords – when authentication is required, you simply look briefly at the device.

Iris-scanners are used in high-security enterprise systems, but Myris is the first aimed at consumers – riding on a wave of enthusiasm for biometrics, as reported by We Live Security here.

Up to five users can be registered on each Myris. The makers claim that it offers a far higher level of security than fingerprint scanners – in each fingerprint, only 20 data points are analyzed – whereas in an iris scan, there are 240 data points.

This gives a “false positive” chance of 1 in 2.25 trillion, the makers claim. Eyelock says, “Since no two irises are alike the chances of a false match are less than one in two trillion. That’s more than the population of earth. In fact, that’s more than the population of 315 earths.”

The product is to be released this year, and reservations are open now. No price has as yet been confirmed.

The Myris has been in development for seen years, and was unveiled this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The gadget won a Popular Mechanics Editor’s Choice award.

“It’s hard to say whether most of the initial customers will be individuals or corporate IT departments; either way, biometrics feel like the future,” the magazine commented.

The appeal, according to Businesss Insider’s report, is that it offer a level of security previously only available to enterprises – but now aimed at consumers. Set-up is rapid – you can ‘authenticate’ a new user, and unlock a device, within 20 seconds, the site reported.

The Myris scanner plugs into PCs or tablets via a USB cable, and scans irises in around a second, according to Fox News, which showed off a video demonstration of the device.

Speaking to Mashable, Anthonly Antolino of Myris said, “Iris, as a human part of the body, is second only to DNA in terms of its ability to authenticate someone with certainty. No two people on the planet have the same iris texture. Not even identical twins.”

“You really have the ability to have a friction-free, touchless, very high secure, very high convenient method of protecting your identity,”Antolino said.

“The world we live in is a digital environment. We’re reliant on these devices as vessels to everything that we do — our laptops, our smartphones, our tablets. And everything we do requires an authenticator.”

A poll conducted by networks company Erissson found that consumer enthusiasm for biometric technologies might well be high, as reported by We Live Security here.

Based on data from 100,000 smartphone users, nearly three-quarters of those polled (74%) believe biometric smartphones will become mainstream in 2014 – and more than half of those polled were interested in the idea of fingerprint ID replacing passwords for card purchases online (50%), and in fingerprints being used in place of all internet passwords (52%).

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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