The EyeLock Myris scanner lets you unlock your work computer with a look. The small accessory uses a special camera that reads your iris — the colored part of your eye — to grant access to your PC, work accounts and more. EyeLock claims it's more secure than any traditional method, including fingerprint scanners. We went hands-on with the Myris scanner this week.
Unlocking your computer with the device is simple, if not totally effortless. An EyeLock representative showed me how it works from the Windows lock screen. First, she clicked the Myris icon, and then she picked up the small, circular scanner and held it in front of her face, about 10 inches from her eye. The scanner, which links to your computer via a standard USB connector, took a moment to register her identity and unlock the PC. This process bypasses the standard Windows login screen altogether.
It works by looking at your iris and matching it with a unique encrypted code. Then, it authenticates your ID by matching the encrypted code with your eye.
Of course, you'll still need to set a backup password for Windows for times when you don't have the Myris scanner on hand. The idea is that you can use an extremely secure password — one that you wouldn't be able to remember offhand — without needing to type it in every time.
The Myris scanner comes with some software features that make it useful for a lot more than simply locking down your device. It can also be used to log in to a variety of accounts, including work email, bank accounts and online payment portals such as PayPal. You can also lock down folders on your computer to keep sensitive work files private.
The system works by generating secure passwords, then instantly transferring those passwords into the appropriate text field when your iris is scanned. And because no key entry is required when using Myris, this method also protects you from malicious key-logging programs that can access your accounts by tracking which keys you type.
Each Myris scanner can store up to five profiles, so five different people can use each device to store their personal iris data. That might be handy for offices where multiple employees use the same computer at different times.
The EyeLock system also has the potential to eliminate the need for employees to periodically change and remember new passwords for work accounts. That's because IT managers can automate the process, letting the EyeLock software generate extremely secure new passwords on a routine basis and then link them to each employee's Myris profile. Workers can continue to scan their eyes as usual, with no interruptions.
The Myris scanner is small and lightweight, so it feels like an accessory that would be easy to pack into your work bag. Beveled edges on either side of the device make it easier to grip — which is good, since you'll be picking it up and setting it down each time you use it.
For gaining access to your computer, a USB fingerprint scanner is probably the quicker and easier solution, if that technology isn't already built into your laptop. But the Myris scanner does have a few key advantages. Most important, it's actually more secure than fingerprint scanners, many of which can be fooled by printouts. Plus, the human iris has more variability than any fingerprint. Of course, both methods are a lot more secure than even the strongest password.
The EyeLock Myris scanner is available now, online and in stores, for $279.99.