Data security is a very important issue in contemporary world. In the last twenty years a large part of ours highly private data – like personal photos and mail, bank access, job documentation – has been digitalized. A very large amount of personal data – from our personal life or from our job – it is resident on a very small disk drive inside an increasingly small device that can be lost, stolen or destroyed. Using a tablet computer, a PC or a smartphone to store or access personal data it is not sure even if there are no one around, because malware and online threats are a very serious issue. But what can we do?
BIOMETRICS: DIGITALIZING THE HUMAN BEING FOR A MORE SECURE DIGITAL WORLD
Biometrics is a very particular technology that can be used to provide user access to hardware and software. In few words, biometric devices are able to measure an unchanging physical characteristic of a human being(fingerprint, face traits, retinal and palm vein patterns, …) to uniquely identify an individual as the one who is allowed to access. Biometrics are not only physical – they can also include behavioral traits, such as gait, voice and typing rhythm, that are very difficult to copy. Every biometric feature is recordable using a particular “reader”, and it is convertible in a digital input that can be used as a very unique digital key.
Fingerprint readers are currently the most wide-used biometric security devices – they are used almost everywhere, from airport security to last-generation smartphones. Fingerprint support is build inside the Microsoft Windows operating system since Windows 7 (Windows Biometric Framework) and with Windows 8/8.1 it is a main security feature for user login; nonetheless very often business PC and Tablet PC are provided with a more complete software that can be used for company-standardized improved security.
FUJITSU WORKPLACE PROTECT AND WORKPLACE MANAGER: YOU ARE THE KEY. LITERALLY.
The largest part of Fujitsu professional-oriented PCs and Tablet PCs uses biometrics technology to improve the data protection of the device. Both the Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q704 Waterproof and the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T904 we are using in this Master Your Business 2014 project offer fingerprint reader and a frontal webcam that can be used for advanced login with Windows 8.1 Pro or Windows 7 Professional. The LIFEBOOK T904, and the non-waterproof edition of the STYLISTIC Q704, offers also a SmartCard reader: it means that just seconds after the first start of the device the user can set the Windows Biometric Framework and the Windows BitLocker to provide fingerprint login, pre-boot password and disk encryption.
If it is not enough, Fujitsu users can download, from the Fujitsu Support Website, the Workplace Protect and Workplace Manager suite. Fujitsu Workplace Protect is a particular software that offers user authentication via PalmSecure, SmartCard, fingerprint, RFID card and face recognition. It also provide a pre-boot authentication based on fingerprint or SmartCard; Password Safe (a place where the user can store secret login details needed to logon to protected websites) and Encrypted Container (a virtual disk encryption to protect important user data).
Security settings can be managed centrally using the optional Workplace Manager software, that offers a central configuration for default authentication methods but also a central management of SystemLock and the ability to configure SmartCards.
ONE IS NOT ENOUGH, SOME ARE BETTER THAN OTHERS
Using Fujitsu Workplace Protect and Fujitsu Workplace Manager, the user can easily record, in just three minutes, its biometrics to gain a quick and simple access to the PC. But using biometric is more secure – it is not completely secure. Fingerprint reader and face recognition offers only a medium-grade security because they are easily reproducible: we leave fingerprint on every surface we touch and our face is almost always clearly visible by others.
For a real protection, the user have to use at least a double authentication (for example, fingerprint and password), that it is a PC-style “two-men rule”; the user can also use a high-security biometric like PalmSecure, because the palm vein pattern is almost impossible to reproduce – PalmSecure scanners are available as a USB-connected device. SmartCards are also considered a high-security device, because it is very hard to copy and it is often used in a double authentication because it is very easy to use.
From this point of view we can see that the Fujitsu LIFEBOOK T904, that offers a SmartCard reader, webcam and fingerprint reader, is capable to protect the data better than the Fujitsu STYLISTIC Q704 Waterproof that,becasue of the IP57 rating, offers no SmartCard reader on the go. For a real protection, the Stylistic Q704 Waterproof users should use a two-way authentication.