iPhone 5s with Touch ID is a big win for BYOD security

iPhone 5s with Touch ID is a big win for BYOD security

Summary: Apple takes security on the iPhone 5s to the next level by adding a new Touch ID architecture that incorporates a fingerprint reader directly onto the device. This will please both enterprise users and IT admins managing BYOD.

TOPICS: Apple, Security

Apple's iPhone 5c/5s unveiling event is over and there's a lot of information to digest. But one feature present on the iPhone 5s (which, from September 20 will be Apple's flagship iPhone) really stood out – the Touch ID fingerprint reader.

While consumers will undoubtedly benefit from the ease and convenience of using a fingerprint reader as opposed to having to tap in their passcode to unload their iPhones, the real market that benefits from this are enterprise buyers and BYOD.

IT admins are always worried about security (or at least they should be), and while the iPhone, like its Android counterparts, allows for remote wiping of devices, biometric protection takes iPhone security to the next level. No more having to worry that about someone watching over your shoulder when you enter your passcode because with the iPhone 5s passcodes will become a thing of the past.

Consumers who regularly hand their iPhones to kids will also find the added protection that Touch ID offers them when it comes to in-app purchases reassuring. You can hand your shiny new iPhone 5s to little Timmy or Jane happy in the knowledge that they can't cripple you by blowing away thousands of dollars on in-app purchases.

Touch ID will also bring two-factor authentication to the iPhone, combining something you know – a passcode – with something you have – your fingerprint – to dramatically boost security. This puts an extra level of security between users and the corporate network for enterprise and BYOD users. 

Touch ID also makes security easier. According to Apple about half of iPhone users don't bother with passcodes, and this means that the iPhone is low-hanging fruit for thieves looking for a device that allows them to make a quick few bucks. Adding fingerprint authentication, along with the new features in iOS 7 that tie an iPhone to a specific Apple ID in such a way that it can survive a total wipe, means that the iPhone 5s will be far less attractive to rogues and miscreants.

iPhone crime is hitting epidemic proportions, and it's clear that Apple is taking steps to bring this under control.

But it's not all smiles. Because Touch ID is only available on the flagship iPhone 5s, Apple is putting a premium price tag on biometric security. Users of the lower-priced iPhone 5c are left out in the cold when it comes to Touch ID, which is a shame, but given that not much separates the iPhone 5c from the 5s in real, on the ground terms, Apple had to draw the feature line somewhere.

You can have biometric security, but it'll cost you.

Topics: Apple, Security

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  • Neat!

    Just like the Motorola Atrix (2011), but without all that annoying Android-ness.
    Nemo Who
  • Oh, one more thing

    ...If you don't have fingers, since birth, accident, or due to service to your country, Apple is intentionally targeting your civil rights. You better call Saul.
    Nemo Who
    • Chuckle :)

      or if you have no or damaged fingerprints due to genetics or accidents....
      • I believe that this tech incorporates sub dermal scanning

        Of course, if one can't use the biometrics, than I suspect a good old fashion password would suffice.

        However, I wonder if a two step security protocol could be used as an option. That is, a biometric scan and than a password step could be used together for security access.
    • finger sensor

      ...you don't have to go so far. It's enough you cut your finger and need a bandage...
    • YESSSS!!!!!

      I just saw the actor who plays Saul Goodman on an episode of the League, and that's the first thing I said lol. BB till I die. Or until the season ends in 3 weeks :/
  • king

    my Aunty Taylor recently got Honda Ridgeline Crew Cab just by working online with a macbook... you can try these out......... http://xurl.es/tk79n
  • I've never had this problem.

    "No more having to worry that about someone watching over your shoulder when you enter your passcode because with the iPhone 5s passcodes will become a thing of the past"

    Anyone else worry about people watching you type in your passcode?
    • "Anyone else worry about people watching you type in your passcode?"

      Yeah... I Know right? This will be a great feature for the rapidly growing 13-30 year old foreign spy demographic. Not sure who else would really benefit.
    • Re: Anyone else worry about people watching you type in your passcode?

      You must not travel much?

      Imagine, going to a place, like some meeting in XYZ, where your conference room is monitored by many, many cameras that more or less have perfect view of your devices and the passwords you type in. Or... a nice record of the keys you press, that is.

      XYZ can be almost any place these days...

      The whole point to have a password is that others don't know it.
  • Lame at best

    Add a heartbeat sensor and temp sensor to this and you have migrated from kindergarten security to 2nd grade.

    It's a gimmick at best.
    • Just as lame as that overgrown iPod that was launched 3.5 years ago

      You stated the iPad was lame as well. You seem to have a penchant for labeling Apple tech as lame. Someday you might be right with your observations. But it's not today.
  • On a related note...

    I look forward to huge databases of human fingerprints culled from mobile devices being posted of pastebin and other fun and exiting antics from the criminal pranksters.
    • No no no, that can't happen

      apple promises not to give* your fingerprint data to anyone**.

      * Unless a hacker finds a way to break into an apple server and steal them but that could never happen, right?

      ** Unless the NSA asks really nicely.
      • You're right, Tood—that can't happen

        Apple does not access the fingerprint data. It is stored on the device only.
      • Todd, just give up already, you're embarrassing yourself

        Like deasys pointed out, the data is saved on the device only. And not only that, but only a local part, the entire device does not have access to it, including Apps outside of iTunes and the App store. Furthermore, Apple takes security more seriously then almost any consumer tech company. Good luck hacking an Apple server. And furthermore, your humiliating lack of aptitude to discuss anything technical has presented itself once again. What "fingerprint data" would they steal? Hm? Please tell me. I'd love to hear it. What do you think, the iPhone saves an actual scan of your fingerprint? Do you have any idea how capacitance finger scanning works? It doesn't take a print of your finger. Tiny conductors, less than a finger ridge wide, complete a circuit when in contact with your finger. The electrical charge difference between the epidermal and sub epidermal layers, making it nearly impossible to fool. Since the scanner is measuring voltage differentials and not taking a picture of the actual print, it is stored and interpreted in a series of long and highly complex algorithms, completely unusable to steal and replicate a fingerprint. It is essentially a veryyyyyyy long password, so your actual biometric data would not be at risk. Not that it ever was in the first place. Once again, learn your facts kid, this is a joke.
    • Re: On a related note...

      Morale: If you are a criminal, don't buy an iPhone....
  • How this is more secure than a pattern unlocking?!

    It seem a very expensive solution for a small gain.
    • Re: How this is more secure than a pattern unlocking?

      Assuming this is a sincere question, the answers are:
      a) a fingerprint is a vastly more complicated pattern than any pattern that you are likely to remember;
      b) you don’t have to remember your fingerprint pattern, because the hardware reportedly reads it from your finger or thumb with a 500 dot per inch, sub-dermal scanner, and
      c) so far there are no cracks for Apple’s scanner, whereas there are freely available kits to crack Android patters (e.g. http://bit.ly/OguWDa )
      • It was a sincere question :)

        a) If you implement a more severe lock after say 5 missed attempts, statically, differences must be very small.
        b) This is a valid reason, I could add that patterns could be seen.
        c) This is a bad implementation of the patter unlocking, finger unlocking could be as buggy, probably more as it is more complex.

        I still believe for security of a phone it's an overkill solution with probably small gains.
        I provide 2 articles showing that finger print security is far from a bullet proof solution (maybe for a phone conclusions are irrelevant... anyway...)