Now that the Mac OS enjoys the benefits of a UNIX core, it also benefits from the security of a relatively mature operating system. However, there may be folks who need more than a password to authenticate a user to the system. Fortunately, the good folks at Sony have made their "Puppy" security product Mac OS X compatible.
For the uninitiated, the "Puppy" is a biometric authentication device which uses an individualis fingerprint as their password. Mayumi Nakamura, Director of Sales & Marketing for Pacific Software Publishing, Sonyis North American Distributor for the product, gave us a quick demo.
We first had to create a security profile for our user. You can require that a user use either a fingerprint, a password, or both to gain access. We opted for fingerprint only. The system then had to capture our fingerprint, so we placed our right index finger on the Puppy unit. We did this three times, after which the system selected the best scan.
We then logged off of OS X, and were at the logon screen. In an attempt to trick the system, Mayumi tried to log into our account, but wasnit successful. We then tried to use a finger other than the one that we had previously scanned, and this also didnit work. Using the finger that we had previously scanned, we were immediately logged into the system. For the sophistication of this solution, we were very impressed with the speed, which is at least on par with having to type in a password, if not a bit quicker.
The unit, which will be available shortly, requires Mac OS X 10.2 or later and a USB port. It will be priced at $199.