Technology — 01 March 2011
Sick of passwords? Then login by fingerprint-scanning keyboard

Sick of passwords? Then login with this fingerprint-scanning keyboard from Germany.

Passwords could soon become a thing of the past. Some laptops already provide the option to log in by fingerprint. But now this technology is available for corporate and government use in large IT network environments where security is important.

German biometrics specialist Dermalog presented a new fingerprint-scanning keyboard at the CeBIT 2011 exhibition. The biometric keyboard makes logging into the IT systems of a company, bank, hospital or government very much easier and far more secure.

The Dermalog FingerLogin is a keyboard with an integrated fingerprint scanner, together with the appropriate biometrics software for IT networks. The new technology is already being introduced at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) for more than 3.900 computers of the hospital.

Complicated, frequently changing passwords are a substantial security risk for log-in to corporate networks. In general, they are not protected carefully enough by users to prevent unauthorised access. Dermalog, Germany’s largest biometrics manufacturer, presents a new technology at CeBIT – it is not only more secure, but also easier and faster to use than conventional entry of user name and password: log-in by fingerprint.

Dermalog FingerLogin comprises two components – the keyboard with integrated fingerprint scanner, ensuring maximum security by means of its high-performance optics and Live Finger Detection. The keyboard can be connected via USB interface to a PC or Thin Client. Secondly, powerful biometric software, comparing the scan with the fingerprint database and password administration.

Dermalog FingerLogin is the first professional biometric solution designed for a large number of users and appropriate for integration in networks of public authorities, companies and other organisations, such as hospitals or banks. The system runs under Windows and Linux.

The main benefits of this innovation are evident – more security for networks and data. Users no longer have to remember passwords, or to note them down, which always means a security risk. Because the access data are often kept in more or less obvious places right next to the computer. Use of Dermalog FingerLogin eliminates this source of risk, and substantially improves data security.

A fingerprint is a unique individual characteristic and, unlike passwords, it cannot be stolen or passed on to someone else. Only the owner of a registered finger can get at the data which are authorised for his/her access. Any attempt to use an artificial finger (or a finger chopped off the hand of an authorized employee) is reliably detected by the Live Finger Recognition system which is integrated in the fingerprint scanner.

This fast, convenient log-in system by fingerprint also avoids the inconvenience of keying in a password, and thus also eliminates the risk that applications with sensitive data could be opened when the user temporarily leaves the workplace. It also saves work for IT departments, because there is no longer any need for the time- and cost-intensive procedure of password changing.

“The new FingerLogin system means passwords could soon be a thing of the past,” says Guenther Mull, CEO of Dermalog. “We want to minimise the security risk where large groups of users are accessing networks with sensitive data. Fingerprint biometrics is the ideal solution, because it is convenient and secure.”

The new technology from Dermalog is already operational today, as demonstrated by the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE), which will in future protect its highly sensitive patients data with Dermalog FingerLogin, and is currently fitting out more than 3,900 computers with the new technology.

As Prof. Dr. Jörg F. Debatin, the Medical Director and CEO of UKE explains, “As a university hospital, we see it as our responsibility to shape future developments. Together with our industrial partners, we are setting the trends for tomorrow. It gives clear benefits to introduce these keyboards in the everyday work of our hospital – they can only be used by persons positively identified by fingerprint scanning, and that gives comprehensive protection from unauthorised access. And elimination of password entry makes log-in easier and quicker.”

DERMALOG is the largest German biometrics manufacturer and one of the world leaders in fingerprint biometrics. DERMALOG presents FingerLogin at CeBIT in Hall 11, Stand B38.



About Author

David Harvey, Editor

David Harvey left school at 17 and went straight into newspapers as a cadet reporter. (He also a keen photographer and learned both trades.) He worked as a photojournalist in Hong Kong and as a war correspondent in Vietnam during the war. He moved to Australia in the late 1970s and got involved in I.T. during the mid-80s. This website is his latest venture here, combining news-gathering with the power of the internet. See: news-reporter

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