One of the biggest new features of the new iPhone 5S, is the TouchID fingerprint reader built into the home button. TouchID lets users unlock their phones and make purchases in the iTunes store by scanning their fingerprint, instead of using a password. However, this is just the beginning of what TouchID could do, since mobile security is becoming an increasingly important issue. Expanding the capabilities of the TouchID could make the iPhone a great choice in the enterprise, military and government where security is of the utmost importance. TouchID does not send one’s fingerprints to Apple servers or to the cloud, but keeps it encrypted directly on an encrypted section of the A7 chip keeping prints safe. TouchID can accept up to 5 fingerprints whether they are multiple fingers or multiple trusted users. It is very likely that the next generation of Android phones will also sport a fingerprint scanner as well since security and privacy are such hot button issues recently. As for Apple, there are so many things that could be done with the fingerprint reader later on for additional security and added benefit to the user. Here are just some of the potential features that can truly unlock the potential of the Touch ID system.
1. Open API to Developers
Probably the best opportunity, at least for third-party developers, is for Apple to create open APIs for developers to utilize the fingerprint reader in their apps. This could allow developers to use the fingerprint scanner to secure their apps and the data inside. It could also unlock all sorts of other capabilities that can keep app data safe and make the iPhone a strong contender for the enterprise. In addition, apps like LastPass, Google Authenticator and other apps that contain sensitive information can add an extra layer of security by using the fingerprint scanner. It could assure the data contained in the app is secure and one visible by the intended user. There is one caveat to this, by opening the API it may could make the fingerprint data less security if any developer can access that data.
2. Fingerprint Password Keychain:
iOS 7 can now sync Safari’s saved keychain of passwords across devices using iCloud for automatic website logins. This is convient, however, as recent events have shown, passwords saved by one’s web browser are not secure. Encypting the keychain with a master password, like LastPass does, or even better require a fingerprint on the new iPhone would protect saved passwords. Fingerprint scanning provides security for the saved passwords without compromising the connivence of saved passwords.
3. Wireless Fingerprint Reader for Computers:
Apple could really take a step into the enterprise world by allowing the iPhone to serve as a wireless fingerprint reader for one’s computer and other devices. This would be helpful to extend the convenient security features of the iPhone 5S to one’s computer and let users login to the computer and automatically fill passwords with the press of their finger. There are plenty of USB fingerprint readers and other solutions already, but if Apple were to make an elegant, wireless solution for users to use their existing iPhone wirelessly, it could be quite a powerful tool.
TouchID provides a very secure way for users to fill in security information, but the question still is how reliable will the new sensor be in recognizing fingerprints, since most fingerprint reader currently on the market are not very reliable. Only time will tell but with improved software Apple can use the TouchID reader to leverage their way further into enterprise and government users’ hands and dramatically increase their market share.