One of the most popular authentication methods for smartphones is the fingerprint unlock. It can be found many of the latest smartphones and tablets. The fingerprint sensor offers a blend of security and convenience that’s ideal for most users who want to ensure that their information is safe from prying eyes.

However, some experts caution that despite the perception that a fingerprint unlock is superior to other authentication methods available, there are some reasons to consider going with a PIN instead.

Most obviously, fingerprints are not all that private. People leave them behind when they touch everyday objects, including their smartphones, and some clever criminals have found ways to mimic a fingerprint by using tape, rubber cement or even photocopies.

Additionally, multiple recent court rulings have found that those under investigation can be ordered to unlock their devices with their fingerprints. Comparatively, courts have generally ruled that the Fifth Amendment, which ensures a right against self-incrimination, prevents people from being forced to turn over memorized passwords. This means that if you use a PIN instead of a fingerprint to unlock your device, you wouldn’t be compelled to provide access to your phone.

Security Best Practices for Passwords and Fingerprint Unlock

Though there are reasons to argue that PINs are more secure, you don’t necessarily need to abandon the fingerprint method when it comes to unlocking your smartphone. Along with providing easy access to your device, a fingerprint unlock allows you to enable additional features like Samsung Pay. Fingerprint authentication is still a very strong security method that meets the needs of most users.

An easy way to bolster security while using fingerprint unlock is to follow some basic password best practices, including remaining vigilant on all your various online accounts, and ensuring that you don’t reuse passwords. Not using the same password for multiple accounts is extremely important, as once a company’s database has been compromised, passwords can be reused to attempt to gain access to other accounts.

Employers should lead the way when it comes to educating their employees and making sure they use sound mobile security practices. For example, employee devices should be restricted to applications that are whitelisted in app stores, or to proprietary services. Additionally, IT administrators should perform regular security audits so that the business can spot any holes that potential malware could take advantage of. Providing an effective containerization solution, such as Samung Knox Workspace, for your employees is a comprehensive way to ensure multilayered protection.

These tips are all part of the key mobile security strategies that companies should make sure employees are aware of, particularly if they’re using managed devices. In certain settings, those with heightened security concerns may want to opt for using PINs. But whether you decide to use PINs or the fingerprint unlock, the right combination of employee outreach and internal security practices will greatly minimize the potential for any type of breach.

In order to provide your devices with optimum mobile security, it’s important to understand what you’re protecting them from. Here are the top three mobile security threats to guard against.

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Derek Walter

Derek Walter is a professional writer in Northern California. He contributes regularly to PCWorld, Macworld, Greenbot and The Next Web. He is also the author of Learning MIT App Inventor: A Hands-on Guide to Building Your Own Android Apps.

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