Samsung raises Apple an eyeball with ultra-secure iris-scan smartphones

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High-end Samsung phones could soon ship with a biometric scanner which puts fingerprint-swipe buttons (as seen in both Samsung and Apple’s flagship smartphones) in the shade, security-wise – an iris scanner.

Wall Street Journal’s Digits blog reports that Samsung senior VP Rhee In-jong revealed to investors that the company was investigating new biometric technologies – including iris scans, a technology common in military and government establishments – but were (so far), too bulky and expensive for smartphones

“We’re looking at various types of biometrics and one of the things that everybody is looking at is iris detection,” Rhee said. He said that the technology would appear in high-end smartphones first – just as fingerprint scans appeared in Apple’s iPhone 5S and Samsung’s Galaxy S5. Samsung is riding on a wave of enthusiasm for biometrics, as reported by We Live Security here.

“We, as a market leader, are following the market trend,” he said. Iris scans are used in high-security government institutions as they generally work faster than fingerprint scans, and offer higher accuracy by scanning for more data points. The odds against “false positives” are also much higher – trillions as opposed to thousands – hence the technology’s use by the military.

The Register points out that iris scanners offer a tougher level of security than fingerprint scans – boththe Galaxy S5 and iPhone 5S were ‘hacked’ within days of launch. “The trouble is, they’re not terribly secure – at least, not by the standards of government work. Hackers demonstrated a way to fool the Galaxy S5’s fingerprint scanner using a fake fingerprint made of wood glue four days after the phone launched,” the site commented.

Boy Genius Report claims that the S5 was rumored to feature an iris scanner before it launched.

At CES this year, a sensor designed for use in smartphones, Myris, boasted that it could best the levels of security offered by fingerprint scans, analyzing frames of video for unique identifiers at a speed comparable to “looking in a mirror”. The device, as reported by We Live Security here, required a mouse-sized dongle to operate – but its makers claimed it offered a “false positive” rate of 2.25 trillion, equivalent to the population of 315 Earths.

Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security

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