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I have stopped using my fingerprint reader on my laptop.

Aside from the crapware required to make it work, I got a sensible advice from our IT Admin that Biometric Devices, when replaced with another one, will not give the exact same readings.

This means, fingerprint data taken from Biometric Device A will only be usable to Biometric Device A.

If Biometric Device A gets damaged, you'll replace it with Biometric Device B. However, Biometric Device B will not accept your fingerprint data, because of tiny inaccuracies when making matches to fingerprint data taken from Biometric Device A.

UPDATE:

Consider also: What if the policies require logging in using BOTH password AND biometrics?

Strict and secure facilities do this (like what we see in movies) -- Scan the eyes, Scan the hand, Vocal Analysis, and Enter the password. "ACCESS GRANTED". The door slides with a whirring sound.

If any one of them fails, it's "ACCESS DENIED". Then red lights furiously blink all over the place with loud alarms.

REMEMBER: In 2006, the MythBusters have shown that a moist photo copy of your fingerprint is a good backup: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LA4Xx5Noxyo (Thanks to Arjan) So it makes sense to enforce logging in with BOTH password AND fingerprint!

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4  
Uhh there is no manual login? –  Ivo Flipse Sep 30 '09 at 18:22
1  
There's no question here... –  Diablomarcus Sep 30 '09 at 19:39
    
Yes you can force the settings to these scenarios: 1. Require Login using Password and Biometrics 2. Password-only 3. Biometrics-only 4. Password OR Biometrics. My question is for scenarios 1 and 3. –  thenonhacker Sep 30 '09 at 22:31

3 Answers 3

up vote 5 down vote accepted

When using a biometric device you should always have a password based logon as a backup. What if you burn the ---- out of your hands?

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In 2006, the MythBusters have shown that a moist photo copy is a good backup... youtube.com/watch?v=LA4Xx5Noxyo –  Arjan Sep 30 '09 at 18:52
    
Good point, but that requires you photocopy your fingers ahead of time. I think a password would be easier. –  emgee Sep 30 '09 at 20:20
    
+1 to this, but what if policies require logging in using BOTH password AND biometrics? Strict and secure facilities do this (like what we see in movies) -- Scan the eyes, Scan the hand, Vocal Analysis, and Enter the password. "ACCESS GRANTED". The door slides with a whirring sound. –  thenonhacker Sep 30 '09 at 22:34
    
I wouldn't use both. Do you have something on there that needs to be that secure, and are you willing to loose a finger for it if someone wants it that bad? :) –  emgee Sep 30 '09 at 23:09

All systems I am aware of that use biometric log ins also have a manual log in with a conventional, though often very long and random there secure, password.

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The software has to read patterns in the finger print to figure out who is logged in. If the new scanner reads your print it will probably unlock the machine. The bigger issue comes in making the software smart enough to avoid false positives. (someone else's finger)

The finger swipe versions are not mean to be overly secure. Just as a quick response to people complaining about having to remember passwords.

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What if the policies require logging in using BOTH password AND biometrics? –  thenonhacker Sep 30 '09 at 22:37
    
hopefully the reader doesn't fail. but both a password or pin + a finger reader is best. (multi-factor authenitcaion is always a good thing... other than when it's extra work) –  Matthew Whited Oct 1 '09 at 13:52

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