Would You Entrust The Safety Of Your Online Information To A Wave Of The Hand?

The future is here, folks. Soon it’ll be just like we imagined as kids — holodecks, computers as thin as thin can be and there better be some hovercrafts arriving soon. But even as technology marches on, there are certain things we might feel a little bit squirrelly about doing away with. Like our online passwords, which are pesky to remember but ultimately safeguard all our online information. Intel is banking on our annoyance with keeping track of passwords with its new tablet software that grants access via a biometric sensors.

In other words, all you’ll have to do is wave your hand in front of the screen, and the sensor will be able to recognize your palm prints, reports Reuters. Science!

“The problem with passwords — we use too many of them, their rules are complex, and they differ for different websites,” sad the director of security research at Intel Labs of the new prototype. “There is a way out of it, and biometrics is an option.”

Once you’ve been recognized by a device, it can then tell all your online bank accounts, social networks and anywhere else you might usually use a password that you’re the real deal.

“We plan to work with service providers to take full advantage of this,” he added.

Sure it sounds all high-tech and fancy, but we’ve all seen those sci-fi movies where the good guys simply take out the bad guys and use their lifeless hands to gain access to whatever secret area they’re not supposed to enter. So we want to know…

With the wave of a hand, Intel wants to do away with passwords [Reuters]

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  1. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I’ve always wondered: if someone cuts off your hand, and uses it on one of these scanners, will it still work? Can it sense whether it’s a live, warm hand, or a dead cold one?

    • HogwartsProfessor says:

      If the program is just using the print patterns, the dead hand should still work. Being dead won’t change the palm print.

      If they dumped you in the East River and then hauled you up to use your cold dead hand later, or dug you up from a lonely wooded area, advanced decomposition and skin slippage might distort or obscure it enough so it won’t work very well. They’d have to get to it while you were dead but fresh. Probably they wouldn’t wait that long in any case.

      I know too much gross shit, don’t I?

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Note to self: if I ever have to use a dismembered hand, make sure to keep it in the freezer to avoid decomp and skin slippage!

        It’s food for thought, though – I wouldn’t want to be the one person in a company that had the hand print to open up a gold bullion vault, for instance.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Oh, and you can never, ever know too much gross shit. Ya just never know when a little tidbit will come in handy!

    • wombats lives in [redacted] says:

      Some of the current fingerprint scanners have sensors that check for a pulse and temperature. These things can be overcome though. Very nasty way would be to remove the skin from the hand and place it over your own. Other options are to duplicate the hand, Mythbusters partially showed how to do this on a fingerprint copy, and then use that instead.

  2. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    I love it. Now people will no longer look at me wierd when I’m wearing my brown cloak, laser sword, and waving my hand at computers saying “You don’t need to see my password.”

  3. libgeek says:

    Can’t at least some of these biometric security devices be fooled by a photo?

  4. jojo319 says:

    I just can’t believe this “1 percenter” did something nice. I thought they were all greedy and evil?

  5. DerangedHermit says:

    Good thing it wasn’t a Bob-omb.

  6. Abradax says:

    /Looks at my account
    /Waves hand
    “OPEN SESAME”

    I will Totally be doing this.

  7. wrtcedar says:

    They’re doing this because it worked so well with face recognition on Android?

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2396321,00.asp

  8. Not Given says:

    Something you have, something you are, something you know.

  9. Coleoptera Girl says:

    What happens if you get a cut on your hand or a burn? A scar would surely interfere with this and then you’d have to reset EVERYTHING for a simple paper cut. Unless the percentage similarity wasn’t 100%. Room for error means that there’s room for someone to trick the sensor, however. The iris scans would be infinitely better.

  10. Bort says:

    i assume a rubber mold of the hand will defeat this system

    • who? says:

      Not anymore. 10 years ago, it was possible to defeat a fingerprint scanner with gummy bears, but they fixed that.

      In general, security goes like this:
      Step 1) Security systems are put in place
      Step 2) Researchers and bad guys figure out how to break existing systems
      Step 3) Security systems are improved to handle the current problem
      Step 4) Lather, rinse, repeat

      So biometrics, like every other type of security system, is vulnerable to attack. But the types of attacks required to break it are actually pretty sophisticated.

  11. Press1forDialTone says:

    PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
    Just wait until they want retinal scans.
    Beware of retinal scans!
    A friend of mine whose office area needs a retinal scan
    started having problems with the sight in his right eye.
    No he wasn’t old and infirm. He’s 31 and in perfect health
    and fitness with 20-20 vision and no correction.
    He went to the ophthalmologist and he said his retina was
    detaching and there were points on his retina where too many
    blood vessels had grown after some kind of pin-point damage.
    The condition could -NOT BE CORRECTED-.
    Turns out it was the retinal scan system and he sued and
    made big bucks. His company went back to card keys.
    The amount of energy that is used -on average- by these devices
    may be too much for some folks but the only way to find out is to
    go blind in that eye.

    • SirWired says:

      Enter text…

      • SirWired says:

        Stupid commenting system…

        What I was going to say is that I’m not buying it. (Though I can certainly buy that he sued and got a settlement.) Retinal detachment is certainly more common in older people, but it can happen at any age. Correlation does not imply causation.

        Unless this was UV or laser radiation, bright light simply does not harm retinas. And why would a scanning system cause “pin point” damage? The light source on a retinal scanner illuminates the whole retina so a picture may be taken of it, not a “pin point.”

        • Press1forDialTone says:

          Well, the doctor and 3 other highly respected doctors (2 were from Mayo and
          Johns Hopkins) testified and 1 had written a paper that was published
          that commented on the unacceptable variance of energy levels used by
          these devices. He testified that the repeated exposure to a heightened level
          of energy would cause pin-point cellular damage areas which would be inundated
          with new blood vessels. The defense doctor (from the company making the
          scanners) was milquetoast and -agreed- with the other doctors but said the
          incidence would be rare. The company had tampered with the scanner and
          adjusted the energy (brightness, whatever) down after the suit was filed. The
          judge cited that plus the apparent lack of oversight of the maint of the devices
          by the company and its security vendor. The company was found negligent
          and they in turn sued the security vendor. Two other employees also collected
          after it was found that they had similar damage.

          If you want to play roulette with your God-given sight, go right ahead and if
          you do, you might as well look into the sun at the next eclipse.

  12. jp7570-1 says:

    Color me skeptical. Any technology that makes it easier to separate you from confidential information should be used with great care. Sort of like the idea of migrating to RFID chips and digital wallets. If it is easier to separate you from your money, that simply multiplies the opportunities for customers to be ripped off.

  13. dobgold says:

    just get a password manager. LastPass is great.