At first glance, the Myris from Eyelock is just a big, puck-like accessory with a long USB cable running out the bottom. At the heart, it's a $279 biometric iris scanner that allows you to login to your computer, websites, and apps while providing a 1 in 1.5 million chance of a false ID. Myris aims to replace your passwords with a simple iris scan, giving you a higher level of security and making it easier to go about your business with just a quick look in the mirror on the front of the device.
Unfortunately, it's not as great as it sounds. I found the Myris to be a clunky way to heighten security, and it honestly didn't make me feel any more secure than I already do. I use LastPass, two-factor authentication, and strong passwords wherever I go, so having a device like this isn't really a necessity for me. Let's dive in and see what makes Myris tick.
Myris supports Windows 7, Windows 8 and Mac. I setup and tested the Myris on my Macbook Pro running Mavericks (Yosemite wasn't supported during the test period). Right from the start I had issues setting up Myris though. The installation software is on the device itself, but there is no automatic installation of any kind. After connected the Myris to my Mac, I located and installed the software and proceeded to run the setup process — which consists of holding the device at eye level, waiting for the light to change color, and then moving it back and forth until it gets all the info it needs. I had countless disconnects on my device, never being able to fully complete the setup. I spent what seem like hours trying to get this done — on two different machines — with no success. It wasn't until a few back and forth emails with the support team that I got an updated version of the app that allowed me to get up and running in proper fashion on my Mac. Finally.
It's a bit unclear as to where to go from here. The Myris software shows various options including Sites, Applications, OS, Startup and Settings. Clicking through each shows different icons, but there is no real here is what you need to do next explanation at any point. The software showed me options for OS X, Linux and Windows, even though I was running it on a Mac — so the later two options clearly weren't even needed.
You'll need to run through the software and setup your Myris everywhere you want to use it — be it for logging into your Mac/PC, securing sites like Gmail, Facebook, or Twitter, or certain apps installed on your machine. The process isn't the easiest either. When setting up a website for example, you'll have to open the site, login with your credentials, log out, then open the site again using Myris — a lot to go through — but still just a one-time setup. Getting everything setup properly was way more of a hassle than it should have been, but again, it's all hopefully just a one-time process.
I would have liked to see a tutorial explaining just what I needed to do, rather than arbitrarily clicking icons within the software to get things setup. For the average user, the experience in getting up and running is a big turnoff.
Using the Myris is realtively easy once everything is setup properly. Just hold it up when prompted at your start screen, website, etc. and it will scan your eyes and work some magic. There's really no frills to it and it works mostly as it should, though a few times it took longer to scan than I'd like (and could have just as easily entered a password). It essentially fills in your login credentials after scanning your eyes, providing you both with an easy way to login plus an extended level of security.
I'm not totally sure that using the Myris saves time or is any more secure than a strong password setup though. You still have to make sure you have the device connected to the computer you're using — which means carrying it around with you if you use more than one — and take the time to let it scan your eyes. This alone is hit or miss. Sometimes it took just a few seconds to scan, other times nearly 20 seconds or more, which is a lot when you consider that typing in a username and password is about a 5-second process for most people.
I have two Macs that I use most days, and I carry plenty of devices around with me already, so adding another one to the bunch was a bit more than I wanted. Also, if you happen to leave the Myris behind, you're stuck resetting your password to gain access when you need too. Much more of a hassle than just referencing a password keeper app like LastPass or OnePassword.
While I like the idea of Myris, I just don't think it's quite there yet. $279 is a lot for a device like this, especially with its bulky size and rough setup process. It does do what it claims, and does it well for the most part, it's just a bit of a hassle to use and won't be a "must have" device for most people.
The good news is that the Myris technology may soon move into integrated pieces in laptops and other devices — meaning you'll just have to look at the top of your screen rather than use an external device. This is a much better option in my opinion, and something that I may actually use. Having to cart around another device just seems like a bit much at this point. The Myris is good in concept, but falls short in a number of areas. Best to hold off for now until things are greatly improved.