updated 03:35 pm EDT, Mon May 19, 2014
Iris scanner highlighted as next security system by Samsung executive
Samsung is looking to add more biometric sensors to its future smartphones, an executive has revealed. Following on from the fingerprint reader built into the current flagship, the Galaxy S5, the company hopes to add similar systems throughout its range, even for low-specification smartphones, with the next security feature likely to use iris recognition.
"We're looking at various types of biometric [mechanisms] and one of things that everybody is looking at is iris detection," said senior vice president Rhee In-jong to investors at a Hong Kong Forum. "We, as a market leader, are following the market trend" continued Rhee, with the Wall Street Journal also noting the executive works on the development of the Samsung Knox mobile enterprise software platform, an area where security is heavily required.
In the talk, Rhee suggested the iris sensors could be implemented in high-specification smartphones at first, with the hope they will appear in cheaper devices as time goes on. The additional security will also allow Samsung Knox to exist on the smartphones, potentially making it cheaper for enterprise customers to use.
Providing an iris scanner may prove to be a tougher security system to get around, especially when compared to fingerprint readers. Last month, a security firm found the Galaxy S5 was susceptible to a "fake finger" attack, the same one that was found to be successful against the Apple iPhone 5s Touch ID system. Though difficult to accomplish and unlikely to affect the majority of users, the security risk was raised as an issue by US Senator Al Franken, who wrote to Samsung about the matter.
On the subject of Knox specifically, Rhee advised there are 87 million devices that have Knox embedded, with around 1.8 million actively using it, including in regulated industries. Rhee did not wish to comment on how many paid Knox customers Samsung has, but he hopes demand for it will increase once it has increased its number of certifications within industry.