Samsung has upstaged rival Apple with a fingerprint-locked version of the password-vault app LastPass for its flagship Samsung Galaxy S5, available free on Google Play from today. While the iPhone 5S’s fingerprint scanner can unlock the phone and some Apple apps, LastPass can be used so that a fingerprint swipe unlocks ANY app or website on the phone – offering a serious increase in ease of use.
Engadget’s report says, “All you need to do is swipe your finger across the home button, now that the password manager’s Android app has been updated to work with the device’s biometric scanner. It’ll be a lot faster to add or change entries with the feature in place, and in some ways, fingerprint authentication is more secure than using a complex master password.”
Tech sites have been highly enthusiastic about the feature. While Apple’s iPhone 5S offers biometric authentication, its use within the device is highly limited – it’s used to unlock the device, and to authorize purchases within Apple’s iTunes store. Samsung’s approach – leaving the scanner open to third-party developers – is beginning to bear fruit.
Android Authority described the addition as a “killer app” for Samsung’s device, which already uses the fingerprint authentication to authorize purchases both online and in-store via PayPal.
“The promise of doing away with most passwords (LastPass can’t log you in some web apps, for instance) is extremely exciting, at least until better options come along. With LastPass on board, the Galaxy S5’s sensor turns from a somewhat gimmicky feature of questionable necessity to a truly value adding function that’s pretty much unique on mobile devices,” the site comments.
Logging into Amazon’s Android app, for instance, requires a user to swipe a fingertip to log into LastPass, enter their password, then after that point, their username and login will be auto-filled whenever they open the Amazon app or site with Lastpass running.
By default, the app is accessed via the same password used on the PC version of Lastpass – it syncs with the PC version, so if you store password data on PC, it will be available on Android and vice versa.
On Android, choosing the option, “Enable fingerprint reprompt” allows users to access other apps using a fingerprint instead of a password. As with the PC version, the app stores a list of passwords, notes, and auto form fills, accessible either via LastPass password – or a swipe of the S5’s fingerprint reader.
Users then have to enable “Fingerprint Accessibility” for other Android apps, under the device’s “Accessibility” menu. The app can automatically fill in forms with details such as addresses and ZIP or postcodes, as well as filling in passwords and PINs for other Android apps.
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security