Are you unlocking your phone, tablet, or the apps inside them with your fingerprint? If so, you're using biometric authentication, a system where your body parts grant you access to a location or account. It's supposed to make it harder to hack into things and it eliminates the need to remember dozens of passwords.
One clever six-year-old easily outsmarted this hi-tech system. As a result, she was able to score some extra Christmas presents.
Ashlynd, a six-year-old from Arkansas, unlocked her mother's phone and purchased $250 worth of Pokémon toys. She didn't need to use any sophisticated software; she simply pressed her mother's finger against the fingerprint reader while she was asleep! Once the phone was unlocked, she located the Amazon app and started shopping.
Her mother, Bethany, is an Amazon Prime member so all of her account details are saved inside the app. Her payment and shipping information was automatically filled in. Ashlynd was able to select the items she wanted and quickly checkout. And unfortunately, most of the items were not returnable.
So if you're wondering what's better for securing your phone, your fingerprint or a password you must type in, the answer is neither... by itself. The best way to keep anything safe is to have several lines of defense. Using one to protect your phone and the other to protect apps within your phone would be best.
- Fingerprint: If you have the iPhone 5s or any newer versions, then you can use Touch ID to buy items from the App Store, iBook Store, iTunes Store, and use Apple Pay. If you enable this feature and your phone gets stolen, the thief won't be able to buy things through your device. To access this feature, open the "Settings" app. Tap "Touch ID & Passcode," then enter your passcode. That will bring up a list of where you can choose to enable or disable actions that require your fingerprint.
- App-specific passwords: You can create special passwords for up to 25 different apps. You must log in to your Apple ID account and go into the "Security" section. Below "App-Specific Passwords," click "Generate Password." Then just follow the instructions you are given.
- Fingerprint: If you have the latest Android operating system, Marshmallow, then you can use your prints to buy and sign into apps and purchase things with Android Pay. If you enable this feature and your phone gets stolen, the thief won't be able to buy things through your device. To access this feature, open the "Settings" app. Under "Personal," tap "Security" then "Pixel Imprint" or "Nexus Imprint." Then just follow directions for scanning your prints.
- App-specific passwords: You can assign specific passwords to apps that hold private information (i.e., mobile banking, document sharing and emails). AppLock is a free app from the Google Play store where you can set up passcodes for apps, photos and videos. Since fingerprint locking doesn't work on older Android phones, this is a great alternative.