Your Next Smartphone Screen Will Read Your Fingerprints (Video)

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It's no secret that smartphone security is a bad joke. Most users either have no password at all or they have a simple line pattern that's easy to guess. Even alphanumeric passwords aren't that hard to crack. Enter the fingerprint reader. Apple recently purchased AuthenTec's embedded security division so it can bring biometric logins to the iPhone. Now, Validity Sensors, a company which supplies fingerprint readers to laptop makers such as Hewlett Packard, wants to bring its technology to Android and other smartphones.

MORE: How Secure is the New iPhone's Fingerprint Security?

At CES last week, Validity Director of Technical Marketing Dough Vargha showed off a Samsung Android phone that had been specially modified to include a fingerprint sensor underneath the glass. In just one swipe, Vargha was able to log in to the Android phone. 

Validity Fingerprint Reading Technology

"Not only does that provide a simple user experience, [but] it also is high security," he told us. "It's easy to hack a four-digit PIN, but a fingerprint belongs to you and you only."

Vargha explained that fingerprint authentication, which Validity calls "Natural Login," will be used not only to log into a device, but also to validate ecommerce transactions. So, even after you've already unlocked your phone, you may need to reauthenticate to confirm a purchase or a money transfer from a bank. Ultimately, the security will be up to the bank or store, but forcing you to swipe your finger again should help limit fraud even further.

Validity Fingerprint Reader

In addition to placing its sensor under the phone's front glass, Validity can also turn a hardware home button into the fingerprint reader. So, if your phone has a large home button like the one found on the LG Optimus L9, that button can double as a sensor.

Validity has yet to announce any mobile partners, but the company hopes to start integrate its technology into top-tier smartphones in the near future.

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Avram Piltch
Avram Piltch, LAPTOP Online Editorial Director
The official Geeks Geek, as his weekly column is titled, Avram Piltch has guided the editorial and production of since 2007. With his technical knowledge and passion for testing, Avram programmed several of LAPTOP's real-world benchmarks, including the LAPTOP Battery Test. He holds a master’s degree in English from NYU.
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Add a comment
  • Paula Galaxy S4 Says:

    And Galaxy S4 was released to be able to know what your eyes are reading: Smart Control

  • @@ Says:

    old news, my fujitsu t-01d had this 1 year ago

  • JT Says:

    Biometrics are great and all but what would be better is a key fob like device, perhaps bluetooth or RFID that would allow a person to lock/unlock the phone once the two have been associated. No contact with it for more than a day or so (perhaps a configurable duration?) and the phone automatically goes back to factory defaults wiping all of your sensitive data. Feel free to steal my idea and run with it. You're Welcome.

  • JT Says:

    Very old news, my HP Ipaq had this 15 years ago.

  • Matthew Says:

    Old news. Look at the Motorola Atrix MB860.

  • Alex Says:

    It's below the glass, not "underneath" it. Underneath would be much nicer obviously...

  • Nils Says:

    To me it looks like the sensor is located on the bottom of the phone and not underneath the glass! Only the graphics where to put the finger is shown on the screen but the sensor is located in the plastic part of the phone.

    Watch the video closley and you will notice the sensor underneath the fingerprint grapics.

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