New fingerprint access for smartphones

Apple is reported to be introducing an iPhone that can be unlocked with the owner's fingerprint, according to a report in the Telegraph.

Other manufacturers are also thought to be considering new tech alternatives to the traditional password, such as iris scanning and voice recognition.%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%

As it becomes increasingly difficult to remember the myriad of passwords required for accessing modern day gadgets and accounts, advanced security solutions have been in the pipeline for some time.

We reported in January that the top dogs at Google were experimenting with physical tokens for users to confirm their identity online, and now smartphone manufacturers are researching security alternatives to the out-dated password.

Summer reveal
The Telegraph reports that speculation about Apple's plans for fingerprint recognition began last summer when the iPhone maker bought biometric security firm AuthenTec for £235 million.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said his firm expected the results of that takeover to be revealed this summer with the new iPhone 5S.

Earlier this month, Kuo said: "We expect [that] iPhone 5S will have a fingerprint chip under the Home button, improving security and usability."

Phones of the future
Some smartphones already have voice recognition software and around a fifth have facial ID capabilities, including the Samsung Galaxy S III.

Michael Barratt, head of security at PayPal, told the Daily Mail: "It's a case of looking beyond passwords and the best alternatives are provided by smartphones.

"The general view is that Apple will launch a fingerprint-enabled iPhone before the end of the year.

"The Android handset market intends to stay competitive so it's highly likely there will be fingerprint and voice identification- enabled devices from them too in the near future."

Security risks
Improvements to security are vital with the huge number of accounts many consumers now have, and the increase in gadgets we carry around to access them.

The average person carries around three devices according to research from security firm, Sophos, with a smartphone being the most common (85%), followed by a laptop (65%); tablet (48%); MP3 player (40%) and eReader (29%).

While they maybe handy, the more gadgets we carry the higher the chance of theft and security threat to your personal accounts.

More than 170 iPhones are stolen every day in London, according to figures obtained from the Freedom of Information Act by The Times, with young people particularly vulnerable to this form of crime.

In addition to the market value of these expensive handsets, criminals can easily hack into accounts accessed on the phones, leaving victims even more out of pocket.

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