IPhone fingerprint scanner will start security revolution
How the iPhone fingerprint scanner works Apple’s new iPhone 5S will be the first widely popular gadget to incorporate a fingerprint scanner as a security measure. It likely won’t be the last.
Security experts say fingerprint scanning is safer than typing in a password. Fingerprints are far more unique than passwords and harder to hack.
Fingerprint scanning is more convenient too: Your fingers are always with you — no more need to memorize dozens of different username and password combinations. And with Apple’s (AAPL) Touch ID system on the iPhone 5S, a user just has to touch the scanner on the home button, and the phone will automatically unlock.
Sure, fingerprint readers have been available on some previously released devices, including the Lenovo ThinkPad laptop and Motorola Atrix. And several companies have begun replacing security badges with iris scanners.
Related: New iPhones, hits and misses
But biometrics haven’t yet gone mainstream, because earlier attempts have been too expensive, too difficult to use or featured on products that few people bought. Trying to change that, Apple bought biometric company AuthenTec last year for $356 million.
New iPhone 5S with fingerprint security
Apple’s combination of ease-of-use and more robust security is why Touch ID will help popularize fingerprint and other biometric scanners on consumer gadgets, according to Phillip Dunkelberger, president of tech security firm Nok Nok Labs.
“User experience will be much better,” said Dunkelberger. “It’s a very good first step for everybody trying to use biometrics.”
Apple’s Touch ID initiative could also be a big hit with companies that allow employees to bring their own devices to work. Enhancing security is a major issue for companies that are increasingly being targeted in cyberattacks.
Unlike four-digit pins, fingerprints can’t be guessed. And experts say Touch ID wouldn’t actually save an image of your entire fingerprint — just a jumbled, random code that is maybe 50 to 100 digits long, according to Joseph Lorenzo Hall, a senior staff technologist at the Center for Democracy & Technology. Plus, Apple says the information stays in a secured file that never leaves your phone.
“It’s like having a very, very long password,” Hall said.
But fingerprints do have flaws that the most desperate hackers could take advantage of: You can’t change your fingerprint, and all it takes to pull fingerprints from a surface is some Scotch tape. Also, fingerprint scanners aren’t made to be 100% accurate. To account for human variation — say, approaching the scanner from a slightly different angle — they need a certain tolerance for error.
That means it’s possible, albeit unlikely, that someone can replicate your fingerprint. So, like everything, it’s not a foolproof system.
Related: iPhones approved for China Mobile network
But security experts largely see Touch ID as a positive step that could take society a step closer to eliminating much more hack-prone PINs and passwords — and the worry that someone else is peeking over your shoulder, said Berin Szoka, head of the tech policy thinktank TechFreedom.
“The idea of a fingerprint scanner on your phone might seem creepy to some users, but it’s actually great news,” he said. “That … could make it easier for us to engage in sensitive transactions over mobile devices, like banking and government services.”
Scanning QR codes with iOS 11
Q: Do I still need a separate app to scan bar codes and QR codes with my iPhone?
A: Quick Response (QR) codes — those black-and-white square images often found on packaging — have been around for years and serve as shortcuts to websites with more information about the item. Some museums have used QR codes on gallery cards, and services like Snapchat and Spotify are among those using their own variation of the concept.
QR codes can still be scanned with a mobile device using a dedicated app, but if your iPhone is running OS 11 system (or later), Apple’s standard Camera app should be able to detect a quick-response code when the black-and-white square is visible in the picture frame. When the Camera app recognizes a QR code, it displays a message asking if you would like to open the site in your web browser.
If you have the mobile version of Google Chrome installed on your iPhone, you can also use it to scan bar codes and QR codes. To do so, open the Chrome app and tap the browser address bar. When the keyboard appears on the screen, tap the square Scan icon (to the right of the microphone icon) and point the camera at the code. When Chrome decodes the address, it takes you to the product’s webpage. (As a Home-screen shortcut on iPhones with the 3D Touch feature, press and hold the Chrome icon to see a pop-up menu with a Scan QR Code option.)
QR scanning for Android users varies by version and hardware maker, and several third-party apps are available in the Google Play store. In later versions of Android, you can point the camera at an object and press the home button to get more information about what is on your screen from the Google search software.
Step-by-Step Upgrade to Windows 10
Q: How do you upgrade from Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional? Can you do it without having to reinstall everything on the computer?
A: Performing a “clean install” — where you copy all your data from the computer before reformatting the drive, installing a factory-fresh version of an operating system and copying your data back — can prevent many upgrade glitches. However, Microsoft allows you to upgrade your copy of Windows 10 Home to Windows 10 Professional directly by downloading the software from its online store. Before you upgrade, make sure your system is up-to-date and fully back up your computer.
Depending on where you got the version of Windows 10 currently running on your PC, you may have to pay an upgrade fee of $99. You will need to activate the new version with either a digital license or a digital entitlement (which is already installed on the PC from your original purchase) or by entering another 25-character Microsoft product key from the seller.
If you do not have a license or product key from your original system purchase, go to the Start menu and select the Settings icon. Choose Update & Security and on the next screen, select Activation. Tap or click the “Go to Store” link in the box to visit the Microsoft Store to buy and download Windows 10 Professional on your PC.
Unless you have a digital license stored on your computer, you need to pay for the upgrade. (If you do have a product key for the Pro version, select the Change Product Key option in the Activation box and type in the new code.)
Windows 10 Professional includes all the features of the Windows 10 Home but adds bonus features like automatic cloud storage for your Microsoft Office files and the ability to log into your computer remotely. For extra security, the professional edition also includes BitLocker, Microsoft’s tool for encrypting your computer’s hard drive.
How to Use Your iPad / iPhone Camera to Scan Documents to PDF [iPhone & iPad 2]
Picture this. You have a really important meeting at work today, one that you’ve been up most of the night preparing for, creating documents, spreadsheets, and what not. You’ve been tasked with making digital copies of your physical notes to send to your colleagues to help prep them for this meeting, which starts in about two hours. If you were in a hurry and could only bring one thing to this meeting, what would it be?
If it was me, it would be my iPad. As for the documents I had to scan, well, that’s all been taken care of, because I used an iPad app that allowed me to take pictures of each of my documents and turn them into shiny new digital PDFs that I can organize and share with my colleagues at the click of a button. Sound convenient? Prepare to never need to keep a piece of paper ever again.
What Is OfficeDrop?
OfficeDrop converts paper and digital files into text-searchable documents. You can safely share and access documents from anywhere, organize your documents using folders and labels, eliminate the need for paper by converting everything to digital, and find and share documents instantly with this app.
You can digitize receipts, invoices, contracts, or anything else with your iPad/iPhone’s built-in camera, and you’ll always have your paper and digital documents with you when you’re on the move. If you know how to use a search engine then you can easily organize your documents with OfficeDrop.
Scanning documents on your iPad just became available on OfficeDrop recently. Prior to this update, you would have had to mail in your physical documents if you wanted them scanned into digital form, or you would have had to use a scanner or upload the digital copy yourself. Now, you can create multi-page PDFs from your iPad.
And with OfficeDrop, all of your converted paper and uploaded digital documents will be available for text searching, sharing, and organization on your device and on the web at the Officedrop website. You can also snap a picture, crop & rotate, and then send it directly from your phone in OfficeDrop, which is perfect if you’re at work or taking notes, etc.
To view OfficeDrop in action, check out this video demo:
Once you download and install the OfficeDrop app for iOS, you can begin digitizing your documents. The process is fairly simple. Just snap a picture with your iPhone/iPad camera and upload it to OfficeDrop. OfficeDrop will then convert your paper into text searchable PDFs.
Once you’ve added a bunch of files, you can begin labeling and organizing them into folders so you can quickly find them later. You will also be able to search for them from within the app.
OfficeDrop also supports over 25 file types, so if you’re uploading digital files from your computer they too will be turned into searchable PDFs within the app.
You do need an account to use OfficeDrop, which is a simple process as well. The app will ask you to create one. There are multiple plans, but the free account grants you 1GB of searchable storage (more than enough for documents), the top 3 search results displayed (title and label your documents properly and this shouldn’t be an issue), web, mobile, and tablet access included.
OfficeDrop is a really handy app for when you’re on the go and want to scan notes to PDF so you’re not weighed down with paper to keep track of. I prefer to use it in conjunction with the iPad, but if you own both an iPhone and an iPad they can form a nice tandem. At any rate, this is a useful app that makes document scanning, organizing, and sharing both easy and practical.
What would your primary use for this app be? Can you think of any apps which are worthy alternatives?
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