As handheld devices hold more personal data and become the entry points to hosted financial and medical services, users will be increasingly concerned about the personal loyalty of these digital assistants. Authentication must be tied to the user, not to the device, if loss or theft is to be an annoyance, not a catastrophe.
Passwords are notoriously weak as a means of data protection—often poorly secured and even more often easily guessed. A biometric interface, such as the Pocket PC fingerprint scanner prototype shown by the International Biometric Group at Comdex earlier this month, can put authentication at users fingertips.
Hardware developers can explore integrated fingerprint systems with tools from providers such as AuthenTec (www.authentec.com)