Security

Fujitsu will replace passwords and keycards with palm scanning for 80K employees in Japan

The new authentication method, which verifies a user based on a vein in their palm, will give employees access to buildings and desktops.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Fujitsu will deploy its palm vein authentication technology to about 80,000 employees in Japan this year.
  • The palm vein authentication will replace password-based measures, and allow employees to log in to their desktops and gain access to buildings with only their hand.

On Thursday, Fujitsu announced that it would replace employee passwords and smartcards with a new authentication measure: Their palm veins. The company will deploy its palm vein authentication technology to about 80,000 employees in Japan this year, allowing them to access their virtual desktops with a wave of their hand.

Fujitsu is not the first company to roll out biometric authentication to employees. In July 2017, Three Square Market became the first US company to offer implanted hand microchips to all employees, replacing ID badges and allowing users to open doors, log in to computers, and make purchases in the break room. Swedish biohacker Hannes Sjöblad also implants microchips into employees' hands to make it easier for them to access data and gain entry to company buildings.

Fujitsu also wants to replace the smartcard-based authentication installed at the entrances to two offices in Japan with the palm vein authentication. The company will trial this for 5,200 employees working at those locations over the next year, it said in a press release.

SEE: Password Policy (Tech Pro Research)

The identity authentication will take place on a cloud-based platform, and is meant to streamline operations. If successful, Fujitsu will continue to deploy the measure for "a wide variety of forthcoming business applications" to improve efficiency, according to the release.

"Without the hassle of entering a password, employees will be able to instantly and accurately log in by simply waving their palms over Fujitsu Frontech Limited-made PalmSecure biometric authorization sensors built in to PCs or standalone PalmSecure peripherals," according to the release. "By making use of difficult-to-duplicate palm vein recognition, Fujitsu can work toward the increased security and convenience necessary for the modern work styles that it promotes, such as teleworking."

The palm vein authentication for both virtual desktops and office entry will use PalmSecure, creating a system on the Fujitsu Cloud Service K5, the release noted. The Fujitsu Security Solution Personal Authentication Platform AuthConductor Server will provide the authentication and management platform, comparing data captured from PalmSecure with the palm data stored by employees previously.

SEE: Tech and the future of transportation (ZDNet special report) | Download the report as a PDF (TechRepublic)

The news marks another step in the rise of biometrics to better secure a number of systems and applications. Fujitsu recently predicted that biometric authentication will soon become the standard for unlocking and driving vehicles. However, while biometrics are a strong and convenient authentication mechanism, they are not necessarily stronger than a physical token such as a key, Gartner analyst Avivah Litan told TechRepublic in that story.

Also see

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Image: Fujitsu

About Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.

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