Do you hate typing passwords each time you log in to a computer? If this describes you, it will be faster for you to use biometric login. And if your computer doesn’t come with one, you can use a USB fingerprint reader. This USB device is tiny, lightweight, and easy to carry. Being biometric, it offers an extra layer of security that ordinary passwords simply can’t.
To substantiate that, I can’t help but think of an interesting episode from Cobra Kai, the recent successor to The Karate Kid franchise. (The 30-year old rivalry between the two lead characters is exciting to watch.) In this scene, Robby, the truant son of Johnny Lawrence, steals a customer’s laptop. All he has to do is pose as a smug tech executive and ask for the password. After quietly walking away with the device, Robby’s gang quickly sells it on eBay while the gullible customer is relaxing at a Starbucks.
One has to wonder had this customer enabled fingerprint access on his laptop and knew how to remote wipe it, could it have at least protected him from data theft? Fortunately, it was just a television show, but tech repair scams like this are surprisingly common in the real world.
What Do USB Fingerprint Readers Do?
USB fingerprint readers work with any USB port or docking station to unlock a computer. They are expected to work as plug-and-play devices, which are readily compatible with Windows 7/8/10 systems. Kensington VeriMark and Benss Fingerprint Reader are two highly-rated USB fingerprint readers that do not require external drivers.
A few other desirable features of these devices include:
- 360-degree detection: you should be able to log in from any finger angle
- Support for ten fingerprint IDs: if you are working with Windows Hello or other similar systems, you should be able to register all ten fingers.
- Compatible with Google, Facebook, Dropbox and Microsoft ID: with a good USB fingerprint device such as Kensington VeriMark, you can not only access your computer but also several online services. In fact, these devices can serve as “tokens” to help you get rid of phone verification on Google.
To set up a USB fingerprint reader on Windows 7/8/10, you need to set up Windows Hello.
Who Does Not Need USB Fingerprint Reader?
If your computer came with a built-in fingerprint scanner, you do not need this gadget. You can check your device’s compatibility online for all known Windows 10 brands. You can simply set up the built-in scanner with Windows Hello.
Macbook Pro and Air users also do not need these scanners because they have Touch ID access on their computers. In fact, despite recent advances in facial detection, Apple is still betting big on fingerprint access for their devices.
Device Failing to Register?
One of the rare problems with USB fingerprint devices is that sometimes they may fail to read the user properly. This is definitely true for me, as I think some people experience this problem more often than others do. With wet or greasy fingers, you are likely to fail authentication more often.
However, the well-known brands mentioned here are very responsive to finger touch. Windows Hello also allows you to authenticate all ten fingers just in case one of them fails.
There are many advantages of USB fingerprint scanners in shared networking environments. If you’re suspecting that there is a camera or keylogger tracking your movements, it is best to enable fingerprint access. You can lock away your screen and remain assured that no one will be able to gain unauthorized entry into your system.
Do you use Touch ID or Windows Hello in your system? Will you consider using a USB fingerprint device? Do let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Cobra Kai Season 1 episode 4