As fingerprint scanning plays in increasingly prominent role in smartphones, there is some confusion in the market over the difference between Match-on-Host and Match-on-Sensor techniques. And in a new Electronic Design article, Synaptics’ Vice President of Marketing Anthony Gioeli is only too happy to explain the difference.
Basically, the difference lies in where the fingerprint matching is performed. In Match-on-Host systems, the fingerprint data is sent from the sensor to a host processor somewhere else; whereas in Match-in-Sensor systems, system-on-a-chip (SoC) design allows the matching to be performed within the sensor module itself. While Match-on-Host systems have generally offered low costs and have been easier to implement into devices, Match-on-Sensor offers stronger security by removing the transmission of data outside of the sensor – without being transmitted, it can’t be intercepted.
As Gioeli puts it, “Even if the host is completely compromised by a successful attack of any type or origin, it’s extremely difficult to force the matcher to generate a false positive result, replay an old result, or in any other way alter or manipulate the match result.” The bottom line is that “an identity-authentication subsystem will remain secure even under a worst-case scenario.”
Gioeli makes a strong case, and his enthusiasm for Match-on-Sensor technology is understandable given that his employer, Synaptics, pioneered the technology. Moreover, as he notes in his conclusion, Synaptics’ Match-on-Sensor solutions are FIDO Certified, suggesting that they do indeed live up to a high security standard with respect to authentication. It’s a technology worth looking into as OEMs strive to secure their devices against increasingly sophisticated hack attacks.
Source: Electronic Design