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Technology could make passwords thing of the past



Laptop computers such as the IBM ThinkPad utilize an integrated fingerprint reader.


With stories in the news every day about new computer viruses, worms, identity theft and other digital crimes, new and effective ways to protect important information are increasingly in demand.

Straight from the realm of science fiction, now in the realm of science fact, some of the most exciting new security tools are biometric technologies — instruments that measure and analyze human body characteristics such as fingerprints, retinas and irises, voice patterns and facial patterns, to ensure that access is restricted to those who are supposed to have it.

The proof of the emergence and reliability of biometrics is that Lenovo (formerly IBM’s Personal Computing Division and the maker of ThinkPads) has just sold its one millionth ThinkPad with an integrated fingerprint reader, illustrating the success and popularity of biometrics in PC security.

Fingerprint readers can eliminate the need for users to enter passwords to gain access to their system. Whenever a user is prompted for a password, they can simply swipe their finger over the reader to access the page or file needed.

Quality fingerprint authentication systems will not only detect the fingerprint of the user, but also scan for some of the living aspects of the hand — so it can only be used by live people and can not be foiled by moulds or models.

In the coming years look for biometrics to become even more advanced —retina scanners and voice authenticators are already being developed.

These technologies will become more commonplace as businesses realize the advantages of using biometrics to protect their information.