Wallet Protection: Dunhill’s Biometric Wallet.

Have seen you the $825 wallet yet?  From Dunhill, it’s a carbon-fiber covered bill keeper with a biometric fingerprint reader.  Apparently, there’s no other way to open, lest you use a blunt or sharp instrument, destroying whatever might be inside of it (a hacksaw can probably cut through it, also cutting the cards and dollar bills along with it).

Terrible Solution?

The wallet looks nice enough, but it feels like a half-arsed solution.  If you go over to the Gizmodo post on the wallet, you can read plenty of commentary on why this is a bad idea, starting with the price tag.  But, let’s assume you get this for free; would you still use it?  I wouldn’t.

  • My wallets traditionally look like George Constanza’s from Seinfeld fame.  The biometric security can’t help if you can’t close your wallet.

  • Biometric security and Bluetooth connectivity?  This thing uses batteries.  I forget to recharge my phone once in a while.  Don’t you?

Plus, what about it exactly makes your money secure?  Like many have noted, all you need is something like a hacksaw to get into it.  Sure, your credit cards will also be sawed in half, along with any C-notes you’ve got in there.

But, you can just tape your bills and use them (or have them exchanged for fresh, intact ones at any bank).  As for the credit cards, it’s not a problem if you decide to use it on-line.  All the numbers will be there on the front, and the CVV will be on the back.

Actually, now that I think about it, why not just saw the extremities?  The cards will not be touched at all, although I don’t know if I can say the same for greenbacks.

I Rag on Biometrics

I rag a bit on biometrics, perhaps unfairly so.  After all, it’s not that there is no use to biometric solutions or that they’re inherently bad.  It’s just that biometric solutions in of themselves are not security solutions.  Generally, a biometric solution is nothing but a high tech key.  Do you feel that your house is better protected because your door key is made of nearly indestructible graphite-titanium combo?

Of course not.  You’d probably feel safe if the lock were a double dead-bolt, the keyhole un-pickable, the door made of 12-inch steel, etc. even if the key were made of frozen gummi bear tears, not the world’s most secure material.

And that’s my source of frustration.  If you have a laptop with biometric access, is the data on it as secure, less secure, or more secure than a computer secured with laptop encryption that can only be accessed by typing in the correct password?

The correct answer is “less secure,” because biometric access is to password as what is to encryption?  Nothing.  There’s nothing protecting the data.  And yet, everyone’s like, “biometric?  Ooooohhhhh, it must be really secure….”

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