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Siemens ID Mouse Review - PAGE 1

- Wednesday, January 31st, 2001 Like Share



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1.Introduction & General Info
2.Performance & Final Thoughts



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Kaminton Feb 3, 01
Is it possible to short-circuit the system by forcing Windows 98 to start in safe mode, then disable the software?
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Ether Feb 3, 01
Safe mode itself is disabled in Win98 (in fact, the whole F8 breakpoint is gone) so that when the system reboots it still kicks into regular windows. To boot safe mode you would need a boot disk of some sort (or reenable the F8 menu at boot time), and the manual recommends you disable the A: drive as a boot drive with a password locked BIOS.

The same applies for an MS-DOS prompt screen. If you can access the filesystem, you can disable the mouse, which is why F8 is disabled altogether, and why the A: must be locked out as a boot device.
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Dimitri Mariutto Feb 5, 01
Anthony,

In your article you mention that having a password still negates any usefulness biometric devices can offer. I agree but how else would you log in to a system if the device in question fails, especially NT or Windows 2000 after the OS is secured? What happens if you lose the finger needed to authenticate to the system? The password is still in place as a failsafe system. However, I do concur that eventually something needs to be changed so the option to enter a password is negated.
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Ether Feb 5, 01
quote
What happens if you lose the finger needed to authenticate to the system? The password is still in place as a failsafe system.
That's a very good question Dimitri. In Win98 there is a procedure in the manual to help you restore the system if the hardware fails or if, for example, you lose your fingerprints in an accident (acid burns, fires, cuts, hand in a cast, or whatever).

In Windows NT, a BETTER method would be for admin to have control over whether or not regular passwords are allowed, and that should be enabled on a per user basis (complicated, but more secure). Right now, ALL the users can either authenticate via the fingerprint, or via password. All it takes is a single user to have an easy password and the system could potentially be partially compromised. The best solution IMO is to disable any passwords at all, except for a master password, which the admin can set as reasonably difficult to hack as possible.

Also. Remember that the ID mouse software allows you to use up to all 10 of your fingers for identification (it will recognize up to 10 fingers set into your authentication profile), so there is always a chance you have SOMETHING to get in the system. There's not much point in trying to get in the system using your password if you've lost all your fingers .

This message was edited by Ether on Feb 05 2001.
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Dimitri Mariutto Feb 5, 01
Ether,

Thanks for the reply. What I was getting at is that there is still the option for a password. Even though, per your example, it is restricted to admins only, someone can still walk up and try to login locally with a password.

The ideal biometric login system would only let you authenticate via your personal minutiae. This would improve help desk calls (no more resetting passwords), decrease unauthorized security accesses (users are always writing down their passwords on monitors) and enhance auditing since no on else can log in as you.
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Ether Feb 5, 01
Hi Dimitri,

I guess my whole point about the single admin password was to illustrate a simple way to increase security while still having a fallback in case the device fails, or in case the system is somehow locked out in another way.

How can identification solely through personal minutiae be ideal if, say for example, the comparison db is corrupted or if the ID scanner is scratched? Then nobody could authenticate at all without a workaround.

I can't agree more that passwords are a security risk, but my strong feeling is that biometric security can only truly viable replacement if there is some form of alternative for access in case the primary biometric system fails (maybe another biometric device, like a retina scan, that or the use of SmartCard+password or something like that).

All in all, a very interesting future for biometrics, but right now I think devices like the ID mouse do not live up to the whole biometrics == added security idea.

This message was edited by Ether on Feb 05 2001.
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Nathan Brazil Oct 16, 01
Passwords are NOT a security risk if implemented properly. But getting users to use proper passwords (2 words separated by a random punctuation symbol for example) is almost impossible. They invariably write them down somplace near the computer negating any value, or worse, forget them and use IS resources for a reset.

This device may prevent that problem. Only the Sysadmin needs to know the admin password, the users can all use their finger.

No authentication device can make an unsecure OS like W98 secure. Use with a secure encrypted file system (PGPDisk for example) would be a step in the right direction.
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Conrad Shull Sep 13, 02
Siemens ID Mouse is very uncomfortable in my hand. The sharply angled corners suggest a complete disregard for the users ergonomic interest. Probably designed by a German engineer.
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Bodo Bosch Dec 19, 02
I have just been given the ID-Mouse to test but I did not get a driver with it for Windows2000pro. Can anyone please tell me where I can download a driver from?

Thanks in advance.
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Phatdave Sep 15, 03
to be avoided.. spoofed by hot air , warm breath , hot balloon etc..


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Octy Jan 23, 05
I have one important question:
Can somebody tell me if this mouse is an optical mouse or a standard mouse?
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