With this update, Microsoft is bringing a feature for Android users that has been available on iOS devices for quite a while now
Android users can now use their fingerprints as digital keys to their OneDrive cloud storage after Microsoft has added support for fingerprint authentication to its OneDrive app for Android.
The new feature is available with the app’s version 5.14, which is currently live in the Google Play Store. Once you install the update and enable the feature, the app will prompt you to have your fingerprint scanned every time you launch it.
To enable this method of biometric authentication, you need to navigate to the “Passcode” section of the “Settings” menu and make sure that the checkbox next to “Use fingerprint to authenticate” is clicked.
Obviously, your Android-powered device needs to have a fingerprint sensor on board in the first place. However, this has been becoming less of a problem recently, as fingerprint sensors are no longer the domain of only flagship devices – so much so that, according to Counterpoint Research, nearly three-quarters of all smartphones shipped in 2018 are expected to be fingerprint-enabled.
Prior to this update, Android users could protect their data on OneDrive via a PIN code. iOS users have been able to use TouchID for the OneDrive app since 2014, roughly a year after Apple released its iPhone 5s that came equipped with the fingerprint scanner.
Broadly speaking, compared to PIN codes or swipe patterns, biometric methods of smartphone authentication aren’t prone to shoulder-surfing attacks. Also, unlike a code or finger squiggle, a fingerprint cannot be forgotten.
By no means does that mean that fingerprint authentication is impossible to subvert, however. As noted by ESET Senior Research Fellow David Harley, the scanners may be fooled by a “lifted” fingerprint or even a “fake” or amputated finger, although that won’t be of much help to an everyday opportunist thief. A few years ago, it was also demonstrated that fingerprint data could be stolen remotely from some Android-powered phones, although the related software loophole has since been plugged. Either way, this article can also help debunk a few myths surrounding fingerprint security.