In 2021, the average US adult spent five to six hours a day on their phone. Therefore, our smartphone is literally an extension of our arms and lives. Undoubtedly, smartphones have put the world at our fingertips. And our fingertips are also used to keep our devices safe. But is fingerprint scanning as secure as it initially appears?

How does fingerprint scanning work?

The most common fingerprint scanning technology is called capacitive touch technology. Capacitive touch technology detects the ridges of your fingerprint when you touch the connective plate. Every time you unlock your phone, your device compares your fingerprint to the stored fingerprint. Once it checks that the two match, the device allows you to access apps, bank accounts and so on. 

Samsung has recently developed a superior version of fingerprint scanning. Ultrasonic finger ID uses ultrasonic waves to create a 3D image of your fingerprint. It also detects unique quirks, such as certain ridges and notches. Furthermore, Samsung’s machine learning algorithm will also help detect any forged 3D replicas. 

Is fingerprint scanning safe?

Compared to traditional security systems, fingerprint scanning has the advantage of being password-free. It adds an extra layer of security, as users aren’t compelled to use the same password across different services. This means service providers have less chance of having their systems compromised, as it eliminates the possibility of repeated passwords. 

It’s also quite difficult to copy fingerprints – although it isn’t impossible. Cybercriminals have come up with several ways to bypass fingerprint sensors. For example, they can create fingerprint moulds and then place them on the sensors. Modern devices, however, are now also incorporating liveness detection – making it difficult to fake access via fingerprint moulds. 

You can improve your device’s security by using two-factor authentication (2FA) and multifactor authentication (MFA). These include geolocation, single-use PINs, answers to secret questions and security badges. In combination with all these methods, fingerprint scanning is the go-to method to ensure that your device is completely secure.