Apple buys mobile security firm AuthenTec for $356 million

July 30th, 2012 § 0 comments

Reuters is reporting that Apple acquired AuthenTec which specializes in mobile security. This is a rare acquisition for Apple because AuthenTec is a publicly traded company. The obvious angle is mobile payments.

Its fingerprint technology, used in mobile phones in Japan for authentication of mobile payments, could help Apple bring those services to markets such as the United States, where mobile-wallet services have been slow to catch on.

I hope to see this used in other areas as well however. I’ve long been waiting for the day when I would no longer have to use 1Password to store and retrieve all my passwords. It’s a great product but far to cumbersome. Imagine being able to use your iPhone to essentially unlock your entire digital world. You set your phone down next to a computer, it uses NFC to detect your phone and then uses shared keys to give you uninhibited access to your email, your social networks, even your bank. The only problem with this model is that to maintain security there has to be some way for the phone to know that it’s you who is requesting this access and not an identity thief. Requiring a password isn’t enough and, in my opinion, defeats the point.

To really tackle this problem it’s my belief that we need some sort of bio-metric security and for the time being I think a fingerprint is sufficient1. Enter AuthenTec which makes, among other things, fingerprint sensor technology.

  1. Eventually, of course, this will be too easy to fake so perhaps an eye scan, DNA sample or some other sci-fi esque technology. []


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