PC makers may beat Apple to the punch with new 'fingerprint ID' sensors built into notebook touchpad

Posted:
in General Discussion edited December 2014
While Apple's Touch ID fingerprint sensors remain limited to the latest iPhone and iPad models and have yet to appear in any Mac hardware, Synaptics announced on Wednesday that its new SecurePad fingerprint scanning hardware is now available to notebook PC makers.




Calling it the "first solution to integrate fingerprint ID technology into the TouchPad," the Synaptics SecurePad is a 4-by-10-millimeter sensor on the surface of a notebook's cursor controls. The SecurePad activates with the touch of a finger, and like Apple's Touch ID, it supports fingerprint detection at any angle.

The Synaptics SecurePad is a Fast Identity Online-ready authenticator supporting the use of password-free security. It will allow PC makers to implement fingerprint scanning technology without the need to duplicate hardware components, allowing for simpler integration into existing notebook designs.

Once a user scans their fingerprint when prompted for a password, SecurePad initiates a cryptographically secure challenge and response with an online service provider. The Synaptics solution does away with storing password databases in the cloud, further improving security with FIDO-compliant partners.

SecurePad hardware is now available for PC makers to implement in their notebooks, and can be utilized in various TouchPad, ClickPad and ForcePad sizes. Manufacturers can also utilize optional LEDs for visual feedback.

"Digital security has never been more important to consumers as it is today and while users understand the necessity for protecting their digital information, username and passwords are no longer a reliable method of security against today's cyber threats," said Patrick Moorhead, founder, president and principle analyst for Moor Insight and Strategy. "The growing adoption of fingerprint ID technology gives OEMs the opportunity to implement modern security solutions that give consumers a convenient and easy-to-use method for protecting their data."




Fingerprint scanners have been available in mobile devices for years, but traditionally have required an unreliable "swipe" input method. Interest in fingerprint scanners has seen renewed interest thanks to Apple's Touch ID, which debuted last year in the iPhone 5s, and allows users to quickly and securely have their fingerprint scanned from any angle.

This year, Apple also introduced Touch ID in the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, as well as the iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3. The company also opened up Touch ID support to third-party developers with iOS 8, allowing applications to be locked and for users to bypass a password entry with their fingertip.

Touch ID was made possible by the acquisition of AuthenTec, the maker of a fingerprint scanning "Smart Sensor" that would eventually become the foundation for Apple's own solution. The launch of Touch ID helped spur Synaptics to acquire Validity Sensors last year.

Wednesday's announcement by Synaptics did not indicate whether the technology acquired from Validity Sensors has been utilized in its new SecurePad product.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 115

    Implying Apple was going to build fingerprint sensors into their laptops at all... :no::???:

  • Reply 2 of 115
    cornchipcornchip Posts: 1,835member
    So will they suck [I]as hard[/I], or [B]harder[/B] than they did before? ;)
  • Reply 3 of 115

    Beat Apple to the punch by adding fingerprint reader to their lousy PCs?!! LMAO

    :smokey:

  • Reply 4 of 115
    The biggest problem of fingerprint sensors on PCs is that THEY CAN BE HACKED. A personal computer is a completely wide open machine.

    They aren't like iPhones where the security of fingerprint sensors is maintained.
  • Reply 5 of 115
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    I REALLY look forward to a finger print sensor on my MBp / MBa. The question isn't whether it will come but why on earth wouldn't it. I have friends that have been using it for years on PC laptops and loving it in spite of it not being 100% reliable.
  • Reply 6 of 115
    This will work as well as most PC trackpads, which is to say it'll still be inferior to Apple's solution.
  • Reply 7 of 115
    Hackers know that when you have physical access to a personal computer, it is GAME OVER. That machine can be hacked.

    And that is the problem of fingerprint readers in personal computers. THEY CAN BE HACKED.
  • Reply 8 of 115

    Annoying design.  I don't see a compelling reason for stealing space from the trackpad.

  • Reply 9 of 115
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Implying Apple was going to build fingerprint sensors into their laptops at all... :no::???:


     

    A fingerprint sensor would be nice in laptops. As in phones, it would add a new layer of security for unlocking after wake up, but also for a whole bunch of apps, from banking to app passwords or online logins. Much better than remembering all these passwords and usernames or installing something like 1password. Apple is incredibly good on hardware. But their software has to catch up lately, rather buggy these days ...

  • Reply 10 of 115
    Headline in 2 years: "Apple wins suit over patent infringement, awarded profits from all PC sales"

    The little swipe strip on work laptops works very well for the purpose. It's cheap, time tested, and reliable. Touch ID has to be integrated into the home button for the tech to even make sense. There is no "home button" on a laptop, so the tech just becomes a gimmick.
  • Reply 11 of 115

    There would need to be something like secure enclave in the Intel CPU. I'm not sure if Intel is willing to work that closely with Apple.

  • Reply 12 of 115

    Nothing to see here move along please...Apple will do this properly and something crazy will happen...Apple's users will actually USE the technology versus just saying "We have it".

  • Reply 13 of 115
    Beat Apple to the punch? What planet is the author on? PC's had fingerprint readers in them like a decade ago. lol
  • Reply 14 of 115
    paxmanpaxman Posts: 4,666member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PScooter63 View Post

     

    Annoying design.  I don't see a compelling reason for stealing space from the trackpad.




    There is a compelling reason to have a fingerprint sensor on a mouse, a trackpad and a keyboard and that is ease of password authentication when accessing web services of any kind where a username and password is required. For me that is many times per day. 

  • Reply 15 of 115
    An Apple iTouch sensor in a laptop need be no more vulnerable than in an iPhone. A jailbroken iOS device isn't much difference than a hacked Mac OS device.
  • Reply 16 of 115
    froodfrood Posts: 771member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by woodycurmudgeon View Post



    Beat Apple to the punch? What planet is the author on? PC's had fingerprint readers in them like a decade ago. lol

     

    In that case they pre-beat Apple to the punch!

     

    I think it comes down to utility, and the iPhone is where TouchID really shines because you often pick it up for short-use tasks or for Apple pay.

     

    With a PC it often comes down to sitting down to do work, so a login password or finger swipe isn't that cumbersome.

     

    Apple has the right usage in the right place.

     

    Next up is having it built in to the screen to reduce/eliminate bezels.

  • Reply 17 of 115
    Bollocks. You should be above these kinds of hyperbolic headlines. I had a fingerprint sensor on my Micron notebook in 2004. It sucked.
  • Reply 18 of 115
    1)It would be nice to get a power button back that wasn't the old-eject button on the keyboard.

    2) Even if they don't add Touch ID it would be nice to get the secure element for ?Pay.

    3) Remember Touch ID is more about convenience than security. I know way too many people that don't use passwords on their PCs or have horrible ones because it's not convent enough. Touch ID could help protect them, just like on their iPhones and iPads.

    4) They could even use an extra, optional parameter to make the Mac notebook more safe. For example, require the password if the network connection is no longer available or has changed since last log in.

    5) This has an issue when it comes to Macs that aren't notebooks. Touch ID on an iMac isn't a huge deal, because it's in front of you, bust still clumsy, but a Mac Pro may not even be in the same room. Can this be put in a wireless peripheral and still be secure? We send passwords securely over BT to log in now so there is no reason a BT keyboard can't send a password hash to your desktop Mac. But even if they only do it on Mac notebooks that's most of their Mac business right there.

    6) I don't want a fingerprint scanner in my trackpad, I want an AMOLED display will replace the Menu Bar for items when in Full Screen Mode, show me Notifications at the top of the glass trackpad instead on the main display, be the number-pad for making calls and using a calculator, as well as other widget-like features. Being AMOLED it would just look black most of the time with a simple "head-down display" appearing as needed.

    7) What I'm hoping for with the next ?Watch demo right before the release the product, is having your Mac (and iDevices) lock based on your location. This means what you're working is more likely to stay protected if you forget to lock your Mac, or in the case of handhelds, some asshole steals it while you're actively using it. [Not going to post the subway video again] Having it auto-unlock when you're within a certain range would also be nice but that has a little more issue in terms of good security to work out.


    jameskatt2 wrote: »
    Hackers know that when you have physical access to a personal computer, it is GAME OVER. That machine can be hacked.

    And that is the problem of fingerprint readers in personal computers. THEY CAN BE HACKED.

    People can get physical access to your iPhone and iPads, too.
  • Reply 19 of 115
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by paxman View Post

     

    There is a compelling reason to have a fingerprint sensor on a mouse, a trackpad and a keyboard and that is ease of password authentication when accessing web services of any kind where a username and password is required. For me that is many times per day. 


     

    I can buy into the (traditional, non-magic) mouse scenario, and the keyboard too.

     

    But for laptop usage, why not place the sensor adjacent to the trackpad, rather than inside it?  I mean, the trackpads on most non-Apple laptops are tiny to begin with... and the redundant mouse buttons are similarly adjacent...

  • Reply 20 of 115
    auxioauxio Posts: 2,242member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post



    Once a user scans their fingerprint when prompted for a password, SecurePad initiates a cryptographically secure challenge and response with an online service provider.

     

    Online service provider?  Sorry, that's DOA for me -- it needs to use a local, secure-enclave for authentication like Apple's solution to be useful in all situations (online or not).

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