If you’re worried about hackers breaking into your iPhone, you might want to enlist the help of woodland creatures. A new video shows a hedgehog called Sashimi giving its owner a helping hand (albeit a very small one), using the Touch ID fingerprint scanner to secure the device. The phone both registers the finger in the settings app and unlocks when the paw is placed down.
The video shows Sashimi may struggle to take the initiative and unlock the device, but with some assistance from the owner, Apple’s technology manages to recognize its pawprint:
It’s not the most practical way to fingerprint lock a phone, but it’s probably one of the more secure. Biometric authentication, measuring a part of a user’s body to verify their identity, suffers from the flaw that people’s bodies don’t change too much. If someone is able to copy your fingerprint, like a team at Michigan State University did in March using an inkjet printer, you can’t really change it. Unlike the human owner, whose phone will be near the finger a lot of the time, Sashimi probably won’t have the phone nearby anywhere near as much.
The rise in fingerprint, iris, and facial scanners has led security researchers to question whether biometrics are a good thing. John Michener, an expert in the technology, told Inverse in September that biometrics seem like a good idea in theory, but in practice, passwords may work as a safer route. You can change a password for a start, and unlike your fingers or eyeballs, your password is not normally exposed on your body.
While Sashimi isn’t aware of the debate surrounding biometric security, humans may have to consider whether portable body part scanners attached to phones are really the best approach to keeping data safe. Carrying a hedgehog around everywhere, cute as it may seem, isn’t really practical.