Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Samsung Wants to Use Iris Scanners in Future Devices

By - Source: The Wall Street Journal | B 13 comments

An iris scanner may arrive on high-end Samsung smartphones.

During a forum in Hong Kong for investors and analysts, Samsung's senior vice president Rhee In-jong said that the company is looking into using biometric sensors that will be used in its products, even in the low-end smartphone models. Rhee currently leads the development of KNOX, the company's mobile enterprise security software.

According to Rhee, Samsung is investigating different types of biometric solutions, one of which is iris detection. Currently, biometric authentication consists of a fingerprint scanner. Apple introduced such a method with the launch of its iPhone 5S in late 2013, followed by Samsung's Galaxy S5 seven months later in April 2014.

"We, as a market leader, are following the market trend," he said. Rhee added that biometric tech such as detecting the user's iris will show up in high-end phones first. However, Samsung's biometric tech will eventually trickle down to the company's low-end smartphone models.

The company's KNOX is an enterprise mobile security solution that allows personal and business content to reside on the same handset. Users merely touch an icon that switches between business and personal, no reboots needed. Rhee said that around 87 million Samsung devices have KNOX installed, but only 1.8 million are actively using the security solution, such as banks and financial institutions.

Rhee didn't say when consumers would see the iris detecting tech on high-end phones. However, currently the company is having to answer a list of security questions regarding its fingerprint scanner installed on the Galaxy S5 (PDF). Senator Al Franken provides 13 questions, ranging from how secure is the fingerprint scanner to a user's reasonable expectation of privacy in fingerprint data they provide to the scanner.

"I am concerned by reports that Samsung's fingerprint scanner may not be as secure as it may seem, and that those security gaps might create a broader security problem on the S5 smartphone. I am writing to request information on how Samsung is addressing these and other privacy questions about its fingerprint scanner," the Senator writes.

The Senator wants to know if it's possible to convert locally-stored fingerprint data from the Galaxy S5. He also wants to know if the fingerprint data can be backed up to a computer, into the cloud or Samsung's servers.

Discuss
Ask a Category Expert

Create a new thread in the News comments forum about this subject

Example: Notebook, Android, SSD hard drive

This thread is closed for comments
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , May 28, 2014 11:11 AM
    Iris scanners have the same problem as fingerprints: how do you change your password once it gets compromised?

    Fingerprints are inherently weak since we leave them on everything we touch but I imagine eyes would not require a whole lot more effort with today's 40+MP cameras unless Samsung goes out of their way to make sure their iris scanners are scanning the real live thing and not an emulated version of some sort.
  • 9 Hide
    Treynolds416 , May 28, 2014 11:45 AM
    Kevin, can I ask why you keep using that picture?
  • 2 Hide
    dstarr3 , May 28, 2014 1:39 PM
    Won't protect against Mystique attacks. Useless.
  • Display all 13 comments.
  • 0 Hide
    wg_albany , May 28, 2014 2:38 PM
    "We, as a market leader, are following the market trend."
    So, Samsung, are you a leader or a follower?
  • 1 Hide
    jupiter optimus maximus , May 28, 2014 6:52 PM
    Quote:
    Kevin, can I ask why you keep using that picture?

    Same here. The picture is not funny and it is starting to be as annoying as junk email.
  • -1 Hide
    SamsChoice , May 28, 2014 8:57 PM
    Quote:
    How about making a better mobile device than just marketing BS.


    Samsung has been b slapping Apple since the Galaxy S2. Dream on Otacon72!

    Alert to the moderators, KRO2 is Otacon72 who is a highly abusive poster banned under dozens of accounts!
  • 1 Hide
    InvalidError , May 29, 2014 3:41 AM
    Quote:
    How about making a better mobile device than just marketing BS.

    With the performance and feature levels of today's mid/high-end devices, marketing gimmicks is pretty much the only thing manufacturers have left to convince people who already own one to buy their otherwise only incrementally better devices nearly every year.
  • 0 Hide
    wg_albany , May 29, 2014 6:04 AM
    "We, as a market leader, are following the market trend."
    So, Samsung, are you a leader or a follower?
  • 0 Hide
    danwat1234 , May 29, 2014 11:46 AM
    Can the Iris scanner detect when it's near an Intel Iris equipped computer?
  • 0 Hide
    WyomingKnott , May 29, 2014 1:19 PM
    Just what we need. Now the bad guys will be ripping out the eyeballs of people who have access to the data they (the bad guys) want.
  • 0 Hide
    coolitic , June 3, 2014 1:20 PM
    No person, not even identical twins, has the same eye.

    Even your right eye itself is different from the left. Would be very hard and expensive to trick an iris scanner.
  • 0 Hide
    InvalidError , June 3, 2014 3:48 PM
    Quote:
    Even your right eye itself is different from the left. Would be very hard and expensive to trick an iris scanner.

    Depends on whether their iris scanner is sophisticated enough to tell a live iris apart from a good quality glossy print or other form of simile - many allegedly good fingerprint scanners are vulnerable to high-resolution monochrome laser print reproductions.

    Personally, I would not use anything externally visible as a password substitute except for the lowest-security applications... barely more secure than a user-name without password.
  • 0 Hide
    ickibar1234 , July 29, 2014 10:03 PM
    I wonder if an Iris scanner in a Samsung device would detect if it is looking at a computer with Intel Iris graphics?