Nok Nok Labs now testing 3rd party authentication with Apple’s finger ID scanner

With Apple’s new found openness of its upcoming mobile operating system iOS8, authentication vendor Nok Nok Labs has developed a

With Apple’s new found openness of its upcoming mobile operating system iOS8, authentication vendor Nok Nok Labs has developed a solution to use the fingerprint ID on the iPhone 5s to integrate into FIDO’s application.

Apple introduced its fingerprint ID scanner on the home button of its current flagship device in September 2013. The authentication peripheral is a closed SDK and was used primarily to unlock the device and approve AppStore and iTunes payments.

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At this year’s last Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), Apple unveiled the new versions of its mobile and desktop software, focusing on the new version of its mobile operating system. In an effort to compete with the customization aspect of Google’s Android mobile OS and handset manufacturers also using biometric authentication like Samsung’s Galaxy S5, Apple released its until now closed SDKs to developers. These SDKs include 3rd party keyboards, widgets, and primarily the fingerprint ID scanner.

After its announcement and release of developer kits for iOS8, Nok Nok Labs is the first to develop a solution for the once locked fingerprint scanner. Nok Nok Labs solution integrates directly into the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance’s iOS application. The solution gives users the ability to secure their installed FIDO application with the use of the scanner, or approve a FIDO secured payment.

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Apple’s finger ID solution is still not as open as Samsung’s solution, still leaving all authentication procedures local on the device. The integration with the FIDO application comes off more as a work-around for Apple’s access restrictions rather than a biometric secured authentication tool.

An example of fully open use of a biometric authentication procedure is very clear on PayPal’s optimized application for the S5. PayPal’s application uses its own database to store fingerprints, passing on the need to use work-around applications on the device. Samsung’s fingerprint scanner and PayPal’s solutions are also FIDO certified.

This is the first we are seeing of Apple releasing once closed SDKs, time will tell if the company will decides to further open developer access to its security peripherals allowing secure mobile payments to take place with more payment options and applications.


Image courtesy of Wikimedia

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