PayPal Executive Looks for Apple to Adopt Fingerprint Sensors, Lead Charge Away From Passwords
CIO reports on an Interop keynote presentation yesterday by PayPal chief information security officer Michael Barrett in which he discussed the future of account security and suggested that passwords and PINs will soon be a thing of the past. Barrett currently serves as president of the Fast Identity Online (FIDO) Alliance that is seeking alternatives to these traditional security methods.
The FIDO Alliance protocol allows users a choice of authentication method while shifting control to providers who can make authentication user-transparent and limit the risk of fraud. Essentially, FIDO combines hardware, software and Internet services. A FIDO user will use a FIDO Authenticator or token that they've chosen or that's incorporated in their device; it could be a built-in fingerprint scanner, a USB memory drive with a password, a voice reader or something else.
In an age where increasing numbers of online accounts lead to insecure reuse of passwords and phishing scams have resulted in a number of high-profile incidents involving compromised accounts, FIDO looks to take advantage of the increasing ubiquity of electronic devices to enable more personal and direct authentication tools.
Barrett noted that FIDO-enabled devices will begin appearing in the market this year, and hinted that he is looking to Apple and other smartphone manufacturers to lead the charge.
"It's widely rumored that a large technology provider in Cupertino, Calif., will come out with a phone later this year that has a fingerprint reader on it," he said. "There is going to be a fingerprint enabled phone on the market later this year. Not just one, multiple."
Apple has been rumored to be pushing to adopt fingerprint sensor technology in its devices since its acquisition of leading fingerprint security firm AuthenTec last year.
KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who has a relatively strong track record regarding Apple's product plans, has repeatedly stated that he believes this year's iPhone 5S will include a fingerprint sensor as a differentiating feature to help attract new and upgrade customers.