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Microsoft Fingerprint Reader gives up your prints

Marc Perton

If you've got a Microsoft Fingerprint Reader hooked up to your PC and thought you had the latest and greatest in biometric security, you're out of luck. A Finnish researcher has discovered that the reader -- which Microsoft has said shouldn't be used to protect sensitive data (meaning, we assume, you should just use it to check out those wild whorls) -- sends fingerprint info to the PC unencrypted, which could enable anyone with the right tools to snag your fingerprint image, and use it to log into your PC. Strangely, Microsoft licenses the technology from another company, Digital Persona, which does encrypt fingerprint data. For some reason, however, Microsoft chose to disable encryption in its product, making it less secure than the passwords it purports to replace.

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