Yes, there have been phones made to unlock with a tap of your finger as its key but is this the best way to protect your phone’s data?
A study into the biometric aspects of fingerprint locking discovered that some lock features could be bypassed with simple tools. A fingerprint is unique to each individual, but with items like a mould of the fingerprint made from household items like play dough and gelatin, they can be easily imitated as the real one and bypass the scanner. This gives intruders the ability to access a device easily, at least with an over 85% probability using these fake moulds.
We must remember we leave fingerprints everywhere, on things we touch every day, including the phone itself. If someone were to take the time to lift your fingerprints, they could possibly make a high-quality copy of them and try to access your phone. I’m not saying it’s easy because phone makers have increased the sensors in phone lock systems, making them more attentive to factors like body temperature and blood pressure. Others also include capacitative technology where the scanner reads the body’s electric current as well.
In an email to ArsTechnica, a researcher from SRLabs named Ben Schlabs wrote “Passwords can be changed if they are leaked or stolen, and they can be kept completely secret but you can always be physically forced to unlock your devices with your finger. Users should be made aware that the security offered by fingerprints is not as easily measured as it is for passwords. Fingerprints can keep opportunistic snoops out, but do not protect well from targeted authentication fraud.”
However, you don’t have to keep your phone close to your chest. There have been improvements in fingerprint scanner technology that make it safer now, but my advice would be to set a PIN lock or password or a pattern lock. What’s important for all these methods is that you wipe your screen every so often as the scanner, PIN or pattern print may remain imprinted on screen and can be lifted or seen by others if they slant your phone at an angle. You’re welcome, if you’ve got something to hide. 🙂