Bank Apps to Use Fingerprint Tech

In a UK industry first, banks are allowing their customers to access accounts on their smartphones using fingerprint recognition.

RBS and NatWest customers must activate the feature with their security information, but would only be able to use Apple's Touch ID thereafter.

The banks said that after three failed login attempts, customers would have to re-enter their passcodes, however a security expert expressed concern that Touch ID is not secure enough.

Both banks, which are part of the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, said that the feature would be available on the iPhone 5s, 6 and 6 plus.

The banks said some of the in-app features used to pay money that required additional verification would continue to do so and limits were set on new payments.

They said around 880,000 of their customers currently use the apps on those handsets.

In 2013, as hackers managed to get around it only a day later after the launch, by making a fake finger from a photograph of a fingerprint left on a glass surface.

Apple insisted AppleTouch ID was secure, however said it was not a total replacement for traditional security measures and was just supposed to make locking the phone more convenient.

Ben Schlabs of SRLabs, a German hacking think tank said: "The security implications are the same; it is just as dangerous... I think it has been shown that it is pretty easy to spoof it and the risks aren't fully understood."

He believes that using TouchID alone to gain access to banking apps introduced dangers that were not present when using passwords or pins.

He added: "Just the fact that you are carrying the key around with you and leave copies of it exposed everywhere you go makes it a very different risk to something that is inside your brain. The risks are poorly understood.

"There have not been any reports that I know of with the iPhone sensor of actual crimes being enabled by it".

According to a British Banking Association Report, banking apps have been downloaded more than 12.4 million times in Britain.

print this article

Return to internet news headlines
View Internet News Archive

Share with: