September 12, 2013, 2:32 PM — Violent Thieves and the iPhone 5S
Apple's introduction of fingerprint scanning could have a dangerous downside. The Independent is warning of violent thieves that might hack off the fingers of iPhone 5S owners to get access to their fingerprints.
Marc Rogers said the sensors can provide a convenient way to unlock gadgets while also boosting security.
But they have led criminals to commit increasingly brutal robberies and even chop off phone-owners' fingertips, the chief researcher at mobile security firm Lookout claimed.
Edit: A Lookout PR person recently emailed me about Marc Rogers. Here's her response:
"In regards to Marc Roger's referenced comment, Lookout was misquoted. Lookout does not believe that thieves chopping off fingers to gain access to phones is a valid risk with fingerprint technology. Lookout believes that fingerprint technology is full of exciting promise for consumers and mobile security: if implemented correctly, consumers will have a convenient way to secure their device and fingerprint technology has the potential to usher in a new generation of secure mobile services."
See the Lookout blog for more information.
I have to admit that this possibility never, ever occurred to me while watching Apple's iPhone event. I mean, come on. Who the heck would do something like this? Alas, it's a distinct possibility in some extreme cases. I guess it just goes to show you that there's always a downside to everything, even biometrics on the iPhone.
I'll go on record as saying that I'd happily just touch my finger to the sensor to avoid having it cut off by the thief. Or better yet, I'd volunteer to just turn off the fingerprint scanner altogether for the thief. Hopefully, most thieves will be reasonable and just settle for that instead of hacking off my fingers.
Microsoft Office and Free iWork Apps on iOS
CNN has an article pointing out that Apple's decision to make the iWork apps free will be a huge blow to Microsoft. Microsoft still has not released a version of Microsoft Office for iOS that is fully functional and that doesn't require an Office 365 subscription.