Fingerprint reader

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This article has some todo items:
  • how to enroll a fingerprint for a specific user
  • GNOME/KDE integration and development status of this features
  • Configure PAM to use fprintd

Some laptops (especially those of the ThinkPad persuasion) come with an integrated fingerprint reader which can be used for authentication.

Many guides expect the fingerprint reader to be used in the place of a password. It is highly imperative to note: fingerprint reader technology is not considered to be secure by security experts.[1] Fingerprints should not be substituted for passwords for any device. Passwords can be easily changed; fingers cannot.[2] There are many known techniques to extract fingerprints from the device casing in order to gain access to the system through the fingerprint reader.

With the warning being understood, it is perfectly acceptable to use a fingerprint to identify the user account before signing with key-based or another form of authentication.

Available software

The fprint project is probably the most advanced approach to provide a solution for integrating fingerprint readers in Linux - other solutions such as thinkfinger are mostly outdated and do not provide such a general approach as well as fprint.
Name Package Homepage Description
fprint sys-auth/fprintd fprint consists of several components. The primary being a daemon which provides access to fprint functionality through D-Bus to applications, such as login managers (GDM, KDM, ...), screen locking mechanisms etc.
thinkfinger sys-auth/thinkfinger Support for the UPEK/SGS Thomson Microelectronics fingerprint reader, often seen in ThinkPad laptops.
python-validity sys-auth/python-validity-0.12::vowstar Some hardware needs open-fprintd fprintd-clients python3-validity packages to use fingerprint scaners, like Synaptics, Inc. Metallica MIS Touch Fingerprint Reader, etc. This packages extend fprint.

Enroll a fingerprint to user

To save a fingerprint with fprint, use the fprintd-enroll utility.