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Google Uses Fingerprint Scanners to Stay Secure On The New Android M

Android M, the newest version of Google’s software for gadgets, intends to increase security of mobile payments, the company informed on its annual developer conference in San Francisco. New measures such as fingerprint- and iris-authenticated money transfers are about to test the market.

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A new feature is that Android M users will be able to deny apps access to location, personal information and data on a case-by-case basis, improving the permissions system beyond an accept-all as it currently stands in older versions of Android. Android M changes the existing permissions system by breaking down user permissions into specific categories, and having apps ask the user for permission at the time access to a feature is required. Users can manage all their app permissions in settings. The company has advised developers to design their apps in a way that they prompt permission requests in context, and even take into account the possibility that specific permissions are denied. “As more devices upgrade to M, app permission behavior will be a critical development flow to test,” writes Google, quoted by NDTV Gadgets.

Several Android variants, including the popular Cyanogen OS, include extensive controls over the kinds of personal data apps have access to on a smartphone. Apple’s iOS has had similar features for a couple of years, now Google’s Android is catching up, according to The Guardian. Google also unveiled improved support for biometric authentication methods, including fingerprints, which until now have relied on third-party manufacturers such as Samsung building their own security systems to support. The new feature will allow scanners to be used not only to unlock phones, but for shopping too. The biometric additions open up the pathway to fingerprint- and iris-authenticated payments and other secure login systems. As British press writes, Google’s Android Pay, which like Apple Pay and Samsung Pay, allows users to pay for goods and services contactlessly using their smartphones, will use fingerprint identification.

Android Pit informs that Google is aiming to provide “simplicity, security, and choice,” with Android Pay, allowing to use credit cards in more than 700,000 stores in the US. Compatible with any device housing NFC capabilities (and running 4.4 KitKat or above), the Android Pay platform is being supported by American Express, Visa, Mastercard, and Discover, as well as carriers such as AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile.

The failure of Google Wallet as a mobile payments system was pretty apparent in the last few months, compared to Apple Pay, TechCrunch informs. Now, with Android Pay, Google is taking a new stab at this market and this time. Users will be able to use Android’s usual unlock mechanisms to access Pay, as well as the new fingerprint scanner support in Android M. In apps, developers will be able to support the fingerprint scanner to quickly authenticate users for payments, too.

Permissions are an important component of perceived security, but something more obvious is facilitated by the fingerprint API. This will enable handset manufacturers to implement fingerprint device unlocking, and app developers to allow users to log into their accounts with a fingerprint rather than a username and password, according to Betanews.

As hotforsecurity.com had previously reported, Apple Pay acts as a virtual wallet and, much like Google Wallet, uses NFC technology, one that automatically makes payment processes more secure, to pair devices and wirelessly enable mobile payments. Both services allowed users to swipe their smart devices near a compatible payment terminal and pay for goods in a matter of seconds. But while Google used to allow app sharing, file sharing and other phone-to-phone interactions with NFC, Apple has locked the use of NFC on its devices to only work with mobile payments.

About the author

Răzvan MUREȘAN

Former business journalist, Razvan is passionate about supporting SMEs into building communities and exchanging knowledge on entrepreneurship. He enjoys having innovative approaches on hot topics and thinks that the massive amount of information that attacks us on a daily basis via TV and internet makes us less informed than we even think. The lack of relevance is the main issue in nowadays environment so he plans to emphasize real news on hotforsecurity.com