Snapdragon Sense

Security at your fingertips.

Qualcomm® Snapdragon Sense™ ID biometrics technologies are designed to make more accurate and reliable authentication possible for the world’s mobile devices. Offering higher levels of security and enhanced authentication experiences, these biometric technologies, including the Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics platform and Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology, are leading the way toward a better digital life—one without passwords and PIN codes.

Qualcomm® Snapdragon Sense™ ID fingerprint technology with innovative liveness detection

5. Jan. 2016


Strong security, courtesy of biometrics.

As mobile users become increasingly more sophisticated, it is essential that device security keeps pace. Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology improves authentication through biometrics. By capturing the unique 3D characteristics of the user’s fingerprint, Snapdragon Sense ID technology offers a robust security method. This gives the mobile user a consistent experience. And by removing password authentication, the user no longer needs to memorize yet another code.


So much more than a password.

The best password is the one we’re born with. Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology uses innovative ultrasonic technology to create a detailed map of the minute details of the fingerprint and detect liveness—engineered to make both our solution and a user’s authentication difficult to imitate. Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology is based on the same superior, proven ultrasonic technology developed for the U.S. government and its Appendix F-level applications.


Go ahead, get your hands dirty.

With the ability to power through moisture or other common contaminants, Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology is designed to give users a consistent, reliable authentication experience even when sunscreen, lotion, and moisture would otherwise get in the way.


Design outside the box.

With the ability to scan through glass, plastic and certain metals, Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology enables device manufacturers to explore and create sleeker, differentiated devices — meaning more exciting possibilities for products both today and tomorrow.


Home is where the hardware is.

Like other Qualcomm Security Solutions, Snapdragon Sense ID biometrics technologies benefit from being based on our Qualcomm® SecureMSM™ hardware-based foundation. Plus, integration with FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance biometrics protocols also enables device manufacturers to keep fingerprint data on the device, not in the cloud, and to connect more securely to FIDO-enabled websites, online accounts and devices.

Next-generation authentication is here.

With SnapdragonSense ID fingerprint technology, mobile device users have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that only their fingerprint can access their device. Snapdragon Sense ID fingerprint technology is more difficult to duplicate than existing technologies, and is available on devices powered by select Qualcomm® Snapdragon processors.

Snapdragon Sense ID Documents

    The Latest


    Secure boot and image authentication in mobile tech

    Ensuring that a device runs only authorized and trusted software is crucial to end users, device manufacturers (OEMs), and carriers alike. OEMs may want to protect their devices from running unauthorized software. Software that is not authentic could degrade carrier network or device performance. Malicious software can potentially compromise anything from a user’s private or financial data to irreparably damaging the physical device itself. There are many risks and potential consequences in executing untrusted software — more than we can enumerate here.

    Consider an attacker who attempts maliciously inject or modify the software images in storage.  The earlier in the chain of loaded software that an attacker can compromise an image, the more control they gain. Device software is usually loaded in stages where each software image is often configured to have less authority and control than the previous image in the chain. Specifically, the first software image which is loaded has nearly complete control of the device. These first images to be loaded are called bootloader images.

    If an attacker can replace the first software image to execute with their own malicious image, then they control the rest of the device’s execution. This makes the integrity of the boot chain critical. Replacing a bootloader image in storage with a malicious image could result in a persistent exploit that would control execution in that software image and any image to be run after it. 

    Implementing a “secure boot” chain is designed to ensure that each of these images are unmodified, and is one way of deterring malicious or dangerous software from executing. Qualcomm Technologies products offer a secure boot implementation and have for many years.

    Secure boot is defined as a boot sequence in which each executable software image is authenticated by previously verified software. This sequence is engineered to prevent unauthorized or modified code from running. We build our chain of trust according to this definition, starting with the first piece of immutable software running out of read-only-memory (ROM). This first ROM bootloader cryptographically verifies the signature of the next bootloader in the chain, then that bootloader cryptographically verifies the signature of the next software image or images, and so on.


    17. Jan. 2017

    Qualcomm releases whitepaper detailing pointer authentication on ARMv8.3

    ARM recently announced ARMv8.3-A, the 2016 additions to the ARMv8-A architecture. These additions include pointer authentication instructions: “a mechanism for enhanced security associated with pointer authentication.” It is very exciting to see the technology, refined and expanded through discussions and contributions from ARM and its partners, making it into the architecture as the new pointer authentication instructions.

    The pointer authentication scheme added to the ARMv8 architecture is a software security primitive that makes it much harder for an attacker to modify protected pointers in memory without being detected. In a new Qualcomm whitepaper, we describe the pointer authentication mechanism including the design criteria, provide a security analysis, and discuss the implementation of certain software security countermeasures such as stack protection and control flow integrity using the pointer authentication primitives.

    These new instructions provide a way for quickly verifying the integrity of pointers and data in memory. In addition to the use cases described in the whitepaper, we expect these primitives to pave way to new techniques and opportunities to improve the memory safety of programs and runtime environments.


    10. Jan. 2017

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