Apple biometrics splits industry

Industry experts and operators are split on the security benefits offered by a biometric scanner incorporated in Apple’s latest iPhone.
The US vendor revealed two new models yesterday – the high end iPhone 5S and the low-end 5C. As expected, Apple has included a biometric sensor in its latest top-tier smartphone, along with a host of upgrades over the previous model. However, experts at cloud services firm Interoute and security company SecurEnvoy are split on how effective biometric technology will be for businesses and consumers.
Matthew Finnie chief technology officer at Interoute, says businesses should not be distracted by whether the sensor makes the iPhone 5S “enterprise ready,” but instead should focus on how to “secure and control corporate data,” in a world where smartphones are “intrinsic to how people work.”
The view doesn’t mean businesses can ignore technical developments in the consumer market, Finnie argues. “Innovation is happening in a consumer driven world, not an enterprise led one…If enterprises think controlling and securing that influx is about the company its rules, they are wrong.”
Meanwhile, Andy Kemshall, co-founder and technical director at SecurEnvoy, says Apple is risking its consumers’ security by incorporating a technology that falls short of the needs of consumer facing businesses.
“Fingerprint scanning, eyeball scanning, voice and face recognition are all at least a decade away from being reliable enough to use as authentication methods,” Kemshall says, adding the technology “simply isn’t sophisticated enough.”
Kemshall notes the lack of maturity and sophistication means biometric authentication is currently only suitable for situations including airport immigration, where physical scans are coupled to a passport check to authenticate a person’s identity.