Security & Fraud

Lenovo, Intel, PayPal Tackle Payments Fingerprint Tech

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A new collaboration may be bringing fingerprint payment authentication online via personal computers.

Tech companies Intel, Lenovo and Synaptics recently announced they are teaming up on new technology that will enable people to verify their identities for online payments by using their fingerprints.

The new biometric system for personal computers will be used for payment services, like PayPal, and adhere to security standards developed by the FIDO Alliance.

“The average user has to remember passwords for many different accounts, from PC login, email to online shopping,” Johnson Jia, VP of Lenovo’s PC and smart device business group, stated. “We wanted to help change that by freeing users from the burden of remembering complex passwords by providing a simple authentication solution.”

The partnership will aim to deliver similar scanning technology that’s used on mobile devices for mobile payments to Lenovo personal computers for online payments. Intel will contribute processors that meet the FIDO Alliance’s biometric security requirements, and Synaptics will deliver the fingerprint scanning system.

But biometrics still have their shortcomings.

Earlier this year, Jason Chaikin, president of New York City-based Vkansee, a company that develops fingerprint-based security systems, said fingerprints can be “spoofed” as easily as a traditional numerical password. Speaking at Mobile World Congress, as cited by The Wall Street Journal, Chaikin explained how an iPhone fingerprint sensor can be hacked in as little as 10 minutes.

Though there isn’t a foolproof way to hack the phones, it is possible. He demonstrated this with a fingerprint mold that was used to hack an iPhone. It eventually worked after a few times, the report said.

In response to a question about the hack, a U.K.-based spokesman for Apple told WSJ that its fingerprint security “creates a mathematical representation of your fingerprint to provide an accurate match and a very high level of security.”

There are others who say fingerprints can be lifted to later hack into the phones. Research from Michigan State University showed it was possible to print a fingerprint using special ink to unlock a phone. A Samsung Galaxy S7 was used for the experiment.

“This is, obviously, very dangerous — potentially, for the user,” Bo Pi, CTO at Goodix Technology Inc., told WSJ.

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NEW PYMNTS STUDY: LEVERAGING THE DIGITAL BANKING SHIFT – SEPTEMBER 2020  

The September 2020 Leveraging The Digital Banking Shift Study, PYMNTS examines consumers’ growing use of online and mobile tools to open and manage accounts as well as the factors that are paramount in building and maintaining trust in the current economic environment. The report is based on a survey of nearly 2,200 account-holding U.S. consumers.

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