Japan launches smartphone with iris recognition security

Image from nttdocomo.co.jp

Image from nttdocomo.co.jp

The first mobile smartphone with iris-scanning security technology is about to offer an entirely new security experience for online users, allowing its owner to unlock the phone and authorize payments with a mere glance.

The recently presented
Arrows NX F-04G developed by Fujistu is expected to hit the
market in late May and will be the first gadget that will offer
users a built-in iris pattern scanning feature. It will be
exclusively distributed by the local mobile provider NTT

The iris is a thin, circular structure in the eye, responsible
for controlling the diameter and size of the pupil. Its unique
pattern will correspond with the iris scanner on the new phone
for authentication of devices.

To enable the use of the new security feature, the user of the
phone must first save its iris pattern in the phone by staring at
animated circles on the screen. The device recognizes the pattern
by using an infrared camera and infrared LED.

Fujistu presented the prototype of the iris scanner that unlocks
a phone at the Mobile World Congress in March. It consisted of
thin lightweight hardware that was grafted onto a regular
smartphone. The company claimed that the error rate of the
prototype was about one in 100,000. The authentication technology
set by the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance is supported by
companies such as Microsoft, Google and PayPal.

The need to remember passwords may be consigned to the dustbin of
history as the iris-scanning surpasses even the latest
fingerprint security technology available on iPhone and some
Android models. The new technology that takes security to a new
level is packed in device featuring 3 GB RAM, 32GB of storage and
5.2-inch screen loaded with 2560 × 1440 QHD resolution and a 21MP
main camera.

READ MORE: Hacker steals fingerprint from photo,
suggests politicians wear gloves in public

A common objection to using fingerprint security for online
payments was that any criminal could steal a print or even lop
off one’s thumb and go on a spending spree. Now they will need
your eyeball to do it. Or as little as a photo of your eye.

“People are wary of the fingerprint. They’re wary of the
eyeball scan,”
David Kane, CEO of global security company
Ethical Intruder, told Government Technology, warning against
relying solely on biometrics.

A German computer hacker who recently demonstrated how easy it is
to foil biometric fingerprint security by using nothing but
commercial software and a couple of photos of one’s hand, has
already did the same with iris scanning technology.

“We have managed to fool a commercial system with a print out
down to an iris diameter of 75 pixels,”
Jan “Starbug
Krissler told Forbes in March, adding he needed
nothing more than a print out in his iris recognition hack.

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