It used to be that we just opened the box, plugged in the computer and went to work. Then came additional layers of security and the need for passwords, then more complicated passwords, and now passwords for nearly every site we access.
While this has worked well for keeping our data private, its applications are limited. Most people don’t need sophisticated security measures for their home computers, simply because the computers aren’t accessible by strangers. But what if the computer is stolen or lost?
Computers and electronic devices are the type of items thieves and burglars target. Many owners thought their laptops were safely locked in their carâ€™s trunk. Unfortunately, when the car was stolen, so was the laptop. Countless laptops have been left in taxicabs and hotel rooms, or lost by airlines.
The new generation of home computers incorporates biometrics as a security device. These computers use fingerprint scanners to identify legitimate users, eliminating the need to think up (and remember) elaborate passwords. A user simply places his finger on the reader pad, and the image serves as a password. The greatest benefit is that the computer cannot be powered up without the owner’s fingerprint.
Fingerprint scanners are targeted primarily to people who use their computers for business and handle sensitive company data. Those who travel with their laptops always have a greater risk of having computers lost or stolen. But fingerprint readers are valuable for the average home user as well. No one wants a thief or a nosy cab driver looking at his or her photos, emails, or internet surfing history.
New developments in biometric security include hand print readers, retina scanners and facial recognition. While they are already in use for the most secure computer applications (government and military computer systems) it is just a matter of time before the technology becomes an affordable and common feature on home computers.