Today in Apple history: Apple acquires the company behind Touch ID

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Touch ID
Touch ID was a massive step forward for Apple.
Photo: Apple

July 28: Today in Apple history: Apple acquires AuthenTec, the company behind Touch ID July 28, 2012: Apple buys biometrics company AuthenTec, acquiring the technology that will power future authentication and secure payments initiatives.

With a price tag of $356 million, the deal gives Apple the right to use AuthenTec hardware, software and patents. In the short term, Apple engineers start working to build Touch ID sensors into the iPhone 5s. Longer-term, AuthenTec’s mobile wallet tech paves the way for Apple Pay.

Face ID could replace passwords on your favorite websites

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Facial Recognition
We dream of a day in which biometrics replace passcodes.
Photo: Apple

Face ID could become even more useful thanks to a newly launched Web Authentication standard, which could replace regular web passcodes with biometric identification. This is via an API created by the FIDO Alliance and W3C. It allows users to access any online service in a browser through password-free FIDO Authentication.

While Apple already allows Face ID to autofill usernames and passcodes on iOS, this could go one step further by replacing the passcode altogether. This would make it a more secure option.

Apple’s next AirPods may pack health sensors

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Apple AirPods
AirPods could soon do more than just play music
Photo: Apple Apple

Your next set of Apple earbuds might be about to get some serious health upgrades.

Tracking your heart rate while jogging soon may only require using earbuds, as a new patent filing show that Apple seems very serious about adding biometric sensing to its AirPods.

Face value: 7 thoughts about biometrics and the iPhone 8

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Apple will undoubtedly play it smart when it comes to bringing facial recognition to the iPhone 8.
Apple will undoubtedly play it smart when it comes to bringing facial recognition to the iPhone 8.
Photo: Jeshoots/Pixabay CC

By Joey Pritikin

Over the last five years, biometrics has evolved from the stuff of crime scene investigation and science fiction movies to a broad set of technologies that make our lives easier, more personal, and more secure. Starting with the Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5s, Apple led the way in the acceptance and adoption of biometrics.

The latest indications are that Apple is embracing a face-recognition approach that goes beyond a standard 2D, visible-light sensor. When used in a situation where there are only a handful of approved users, like a consumer mobile device, the promise is great.

Siri could soon recognize your voice for added security

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Siri
Siri could be about to get more security conscious.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Siri may soon respond to your voice and your voice alone, according to a recently-published patent application from Apple.

The security feature would essentially expand the biometric security system of Touch ID to voice, so that Siri’s voice recognition could also be used to unlock devices or potentially even confirm payments on Apple Pay.

New security chip combines fingerprints with facial recognition

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Some selfies are harmless.
Unlock your phone by snapping a quick selfie!
Photo: Per Gosche/Flickr CC

Leading human interface solution developer Synaptics has announced a new “multi-factor biometric fusion” security system for mobile devices and PCs, built around a combination of both fingerprint and facial recognition.

The system would allow users to either set up extra secure logins requiring multiple forms of biometric ID, or have devices which could intelligently choose the most convenient mode for an occasion — such as opting for facial recognition when a person is likely wearing gloves.

Apple Watch could use heart rate sensor to ID you

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The Apple Watch will monitor your pulse, speed and pace; but there's no sensor to measure how much weight you can lift.
Your pulse may one day unlock your Apple Watch.
Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

Future versions of the Apple Watch may be able to identify owners just by taking their pulse.

Apple was awarded a patent this week that details the use of biometrics on a smartwatch that can identify the user based on their heart rate and other variables. All without the users having to make any input.

Apple clashes with Indian government over iPhone security demands

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India iPhone sales
Apple's hit another big roadblock in India.
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Apple is trying its darndest to grow its brand in India but, just like Apple’s troubles in China, it seems to be running into problems with the government.

According to a new report, the Indian government is currently trying to force foreign smartphone makers — Apple included — to bake in Indian-developed biometric technology, designed to allow users to access a range of public and private services, such as banking.

And Apple’s none too happy about it!

Future phones could be unlocked by monitoring brain waves

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Never mind Touch ID, this could be the best way of unlocking future phones.
Never mind Touch ID, this could be the best way of unlocking future phones.

Touch ID made unlocking your phone faster than previously, but you know what’s more secure than fingerprints as authentication? Brainwaves.

That’s according to Blair Armstrong of the Basque Center on Cognition, Brain, and Language in Spain, who feels that the most secure type of biometrics technology could one day involve measuring the brain response of individual tech users to various words or acronyms.

YubiKey wants to be like Touch ID for your Internet life

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YubiKey opens the way to online security. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
YubiKey can make online security easy -- if it gains widespread adoption. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

LAS VEGAS — Nobody wants to get hacked like Jennifer Lawrence’s iCloud account. Everyone, including Apple, is pushing two-factor authentication in the wake of the high-profile hack that exposed dozens of celebrities nude selfies, but verifying an account login with a code sent to your phone is a total pain.

Cult_of_Mac_CES_2015 In the not-so-distant future, we might all be storing two-factor authentication on our keychains.

Yubico is already providing eight out of 10 Silicon Valley companies with a tiny USB dongle called YubiKey that securely verifies an employee’s online identity. You just plug it into a computer and tap it when it’s time to log in. Now that Gmail has started supporting YubiKey on the front end, anyone can use it as the second verification step for getting into their inbox.