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Integrating Fingerprint Authentication with App Login for iOS and Android

Integrating Fingerprint Authentication

Several android mobile apps and iPhone apps use passwords or PINs for app logins. However, this approach can be inconvenient for the users. Users may forget their passwords for certain apps and services and they have to go through an entire process of resetting the password. Additionally, passwords can be easily hacked with brute-force attacks, which can potentially expose confidential data of multiple users. Also, a recently discovered data leak contains email addresses and passwords of 773 million users. Hence, the private data of 773 million people are at risk. Furthermore, several people use the same email address and password combination for multiple accounts. In this scenario, the data leak will enable cybercriminals to access other online accounts too.

Fingerprint authentication can be a feasible alternative to passwords and PINs. Every fingerprint is unique and cannot be forged. Also, fingerprint authentication can offer faster app logins. Android mobile apps and iOS apps must integrate fingerprint authentication to deliver a secure login mechanism. With quicker and secure logins, app developers can improve overall user experience significantly.

How does fingerprint authentication work?

Fingerprint authentication compares the original fingerprint data to a fingerprint scan made during a login attempt. If the two fingerprint data are nearly identical, mobile devices identify the owner and grant access. There are two types of fingerprint scanners that are used in mobile devices:

  • Capacitive: Capacitive scanners are widely used in most Android phones and iPhones. A capacitive scanner measures electrical signals transmitted by fingers. These scans map the contact points and air gaps in the fingerprint to create a unique pattern during scanning that identifies the device owner.
  • Ultrasonic: Ultrasonic scanners are being introduced with the new generation of smartphones starting with Samsung Galaxy S10. Ultrasonic scanners emit ultrasounds that reflect to the scanner and map the fingerprint.

Android and iOS store fingerprint data in a secure manner. In iOS, the TouchID stores an encrypted mathematical representation of a user’s fingerprint. In case a hacker gains access to the mathematical representation, they still cannot reverse engineer it to obtain the image of any user’s fingerprint. Additionally, iOS uses a gatekeeper security software named Secure Enclave that authorizes fingerprint scan requests from apps and the OS itself. Likewise, Android stores encrypted fingerprint data in a secure section of the processor named Trusted Execution Environment (TEE). The TEE is isolated from various parts of the processor and doesn’t interact with android mobile apps directly. Hence, Android and iOS implement effective security measures to protect fingerprint data of their users.

Which types of apps can utilize fingerprint authentication?

The following types of Android mobile apps and iOS apps can implement fingerprint authentication:

Banking

Millennials utilize mobile banking apps more frequently than other generations. Future generations may also follow the trend and use mobile banking apps for all of their transactions. Additionally, younger generations are more tech-savvy and may be concerned about the privacy and security of their assets. Hence, android mobile apps and iOS apps for banking need to incorporate fingerprint authentication to enhance app security. Such banking apps can implement multi-factor authentication, which includes passwords as well as fingerprint scans for creating a secure login interface.

E-commerce

E-commerce apps require several essential elements such as product listings, push notifications, and a checkout section. Android mobile apps and iOS apps can utilize fingerprint authentication to create simpler and quicker login screens. Also, fingerprint authentication can be utilized in the checkout section to ensure better security standards. With this approach, hackers with stolen credit or debit card credentials would be unable to purchase products without fingerprint authentication.

Mobile wallets

Several smartphone users utilize mobile wallets for paying bills, buying products, and transferring money. Hackers can gain access to user accounts on mobile wallets that can be used to steal money. Such concerns have already been raised for Google Wallet, where a security research firm showed how simple it is to obtain a user’s Google Wallet PIN. Hence, mobile wallets can integrate fingerprint authentication along with the user-defined pin. By leveraging fingerprint authentication, cybercriminals would be unable to access user profiles.

Social networking

Social media platforms are increasingly vulnerable to cyber attacks. In 2018, a Facebook security breach had exposed confidential data of 50 million users. The stolen data exposed emails and passwords of millions of users to cybercriminals. Additionally, several people use their Facebook account for other services such as Spotify and Instagram, which can also be exploited by hackers. Therefore, social networks that have android mobile apps or iOS apps need to integrate fingerprint authentication. Also, fingerprint authentication can speed up the login procedure.

Gallery

Several smartphone users are uncomfortable with people going through their gallery. Fingerprint authentication will ensure that unauthorized people will not be allowed to access the gallery app. Also, almost everyone has experienced the annoying moment when they give their phone to someone for showing them a picture, but their friends or family start swiping to the next picture. Fingerprint authentication can be used to stop users from going through the entire gallery. A gallery app can allow users to select a picture they wish to show and lock down everything else. Other pictures can be accessed only after the owner is identified using fingerprint authentication. With this approach, smartphone users can ensure security and privacy of their pictures and videos.

Password managers

Several smartphone users install password managers to store login credentials of various online services. For password managers, delivering effective security measures is a necessity. These apps require two-factor authentication consisting of a password and a fingerprint scan to ensure security and privacy.

Integrating fingerprint authentication requires coding that can only be executed by experienced developers. Additionally, Android and iOS support different coding languages, which makes incorporating fingerprint authentication even more complicated. Hence, businesses can outsource mobile app development with integration of fingerprint authentication to Digital Fractal.

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