Using biometrics to replace passwords has been a hot topic as of late. In the mainstream, for example, Apple’s latest iPhone lets you use a fingerprint scanner to unlock your device; no password required.
A company called EyeLock has spent the last seven years developing iris scanning software that recognises users by their eyes. Here’s a crazy stat: The False Acceptance Rate of the average fingerprint sensor (how often a scanning system is fooled by the wrong finger) is once in every 10,000 scans, while for iris scans, it’s only 1 in 2.25 trillion scans. (Plus, people have already been complaining about other problems with their iPhone scanners, too.)
EyeLock’s cutting-edge scanning hardware and software were previously only available in enterprise environments, but this week, at CES in Las Vegas, the company announced that it will be launching Myris, a USB-powered iris scanner for consumers.
Here’s how it works: Five people can create accounts through each Myris dongle. Each person will use the dongle to scan their eyes and create their unique, encrypted code based on their iris. I tried it out by staring at Myris — which has a little mirror below the scanner to make sure I was staring at the right place — while I moved it back and forth in front of my face. It took less than 20 seconds for the device to scan my eyes and create my unique iris authentication.
Once you’re scanned in, you create your own profile within EyeLock software which only you can access through your eye scan where you store all your important passwords. You’d ideally reset all your passwords to long, tough-to-crack strings of characters since you would never have to memorize them again.
Next time you visit any password-protected accounts on a site — for online banking, social media, email, Internet VPNs, whatever — you can just use Myris to get instant access. When you scan the correct eye, the light around the Myris mirror glows green and you’re in. No, using a video of someone’s eye in front of the device won’t work: Myris has “live” sensors and can recognise photographs or dead eyes.
Myris claims to be the first consumer-facing solution to password fatigue that is both safe, uber- simple to use, and relatively cheap.
Although right now EyeLock is selling its technology to consumers through a dongle, its software has been certified by the Fast Identify Online Alliance (FIDO). With this approval and partnerships in the works, the company plans to start integrating its tech into mainstream devices in the future.
Myris will be available for purchase within the first half of this year, and will cost somewhere in the $US200 to $US300 range.
Check out some more pics of the device and prepare to kiss your passwords goodbye:
The other side of the device. Note the mirror and the scanner:
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