Mobiles as access control tokens

Mobile Access Control: Exploiting the BYOD Trend (IFSEC Global)

With today’s mobile access technologies, smart devices can be used as universal credentials for accessing multiple buildings, IT systems and other applications using NFC and bluetooth. These devices provide users with extremely convenient vehicles for opening doors and performing other tasks that require the presentation of a secure credential.

There’s a lot of good information in the linked article and it’s written by the director of Strategic Business Development and Innovation at HID, and you’d expect that they’ve been putting a lot of thought toward what access control is going to look like after prox cards.

BYOD driving demand for mobile biometric hardware

In 2011, we observed that:

Mobile hardware is a tricky business. There is a tension between the market signals coming from the “make ’em cheaper” vs the “make ’em more secure” crowds.

It looks like that is set to change in a big way…

BYOD Security to Improve With Mobile Device Biometrics

IHS technology supports that claim and reports that mobile companies will drive that growth through the use of fingerprint sensors, a market that could be valued at $1.7 billion by 2020. “Fingerprint sensors have arrived in force and we are forecasting that shipments of fingerprint enabled handsets and tablets will reach 1.4 billion units by 2020,” Marwan Boustany, senior analyst at IHS Technology, told the publication.

As with many things in the technology world — domestic air travel, vehicle air bags, mobile phones, etc. — mobile biometric hardware started out with high cost and limited appeal. If International Data Corporation (IDC) is correct in its assessment, mobile biometrics could take a similar path to ubiquity.

Passwords can be tricky on mobile devices

30% of organisations to use biometric security on mobile devices by 2016 (

Almost a third of businesses plan to use biometric authentication for mobile devices as part of their bring your own device (BYOD) programmes by 2016, according to research firm Gartner.

The analyst firm explained that BYOD programmes have caused potential security problems for IT directors within enterprises and data that is protected by complex passwords and security measures on employees’ PCs is not guarded as well on their mobile devices. As a result, Gartner expects that 30 per cent of organisations will implement biometric authentication on employees’ mobile devices, up from five per cent today.

I came across an interesting problem the other day. I had to change an important password to access certain critical work functions. Being a conscientious type, I use good password hygeine: mixed case, numbers and punctuation with the help of a random password generator. So far so good.

When I generate the password, I don’t really care what it is or notice the characters. I copy and paste it into the web page asking for it. So far, so good. But one of the things controlled by the password I recently had to change is my ability to check email on my phone. No problem, I find the password (let’s say it was 5=EtH!duWaz8) and I couldn’t find an equal sign in any of my phone’s keyboard layers to save my life.

My work-around involved emailing it to another email account I can get on my phone and doing a copy-paste job. Menial tasks should be easy, they shouldn’t require as much creativity to accomplish.

Mobile biometrics can help.