Is facial recognition on your phone a good option?


Facial recognition is on the rise with cell phones, adding another method of security for everyday devices. Through biometric analysis, the technology uses facial mapping to unlock the device, comparing it with familiar faces within the database (which is established when configuring). The market is expected to exceed $ 7.7 billion by 2022, with many personal and business applications. While facial recognition can help confirm a person’s identity, it also raises privacy concerns.

How facial recognition works

Although individual technologies will vary, the basics are the same. Initially, a reference image of the user’s face is taken. The software will identify the basic geometry of the face, including the distance between the eyes, the space between the forehead and the chin, and any distinctive facial landmarks. His face is saved within the system as a mathematical formula. When you enable facial recognition, the phone analyzes your facial features against the registered formula. If it matches, the phone is unlocked. Some devices will register anyone who tries to unlock the phone, storing it in the cloud (for Apple devices) or in the system settings (Android).

Benefits of facial recognition

Arguably the most significant benefit of facial recognition is ease of use. Users don’t have to remember passwords or pins; they simply have to scan their faces to access the device. For users who simply want a layer of protection on the device, facial recognition offers complex patterns of protection against unauthorized access. Complex codes and passwords are difficult to remember, while weak passwords or codes can facilitate hacking attempts for malicious use.

Security issues with facial recognition software

Unfortunately, with changes in technology come vulnerabilities with software. Previous studies from the University of Toronto highlight significant shortcomings of facial recognition software. An example includes the inability to recognize faces with only slight modifications to the pixels in the corner of the eye. It also found that 42 out of 110 devices were unlocked with only photos of the device owner. Additional reports of opening while the owner was asleep have also been documented. These findings suggest that phone security measures can be bypassed, even when the owner is unaware of the unlocking.

Intent issues with unlocking

When it comes to phone use, a level of intention must be assumed. For example, users who unlock the phone with a password or pin have deliberate intentions to open it. That is, they want to access the device at that specific time. With facial recognition, the phone is unlocked every time the user has the phone in front of him. It also suggests that the phones can be forcibly unlocked, providing access by turning on the device at the owner.

For example, if a controlling partner wants access to the cell phone, the owners cannot prevent access when the partner shoves the phone in their face. It also suggests that unauthorized access could occur with photos, videos, or while you sleep. Skip the software seems to work through the phone screen. For example, two phones facing each other can activate the unlock function; This includes photos posted on social media or videos taken on another device.

Problems with intention also extend to the ability to recognize. Many users have experienced sibling problems that are very similar to each other. Identical twins, for example, can effortlessly unlock each other’s phones and access confidential information.

Problems with compromised accounts

Your cell phone contains sensitive personal information. Consider everything you do from your phone; social media, emails, text messages, contacts, photos, videos, and financial accounts. With unauthorized access to your phone, the damage could be irreparable. Most financial accounts are connected to cell phones, giving thieves instant access to your credit and debit cards. Your email will likely contain account statements, contact information, addresses, and account numbers.

If your phone has been compromised, it is essential that you run a background check on yourself. Background checks provide a current assessment of your financial accounts, employment details, utility and utility bills, and personal details. You’ll also want to contact major credit card companies, banking institutions, and utilities to inform them of the compromise.

How to verify your information

Identity theft It happens quickly, with many people acting on the opportunity. This may include opening new accounts in your name (and never intending to pay them), depleting financial accounts, establishing new utilities or cell phone accounts, or taking possession of your personal information for malicious use. Look for any new charges posted, especially if you haven’t opened anything recently. Also contact your cell phone provider; They can remotely lock the device and lock the cell phone from future use. Also, most providers will disable the SIM card attached to the phone.

Is facial recognition worth doing?

Currently, users have five different options when it comes to mobile phone security. Leaving the phone unlocked does not protect the device from unauthorized access. It will provide easy access to the home screen, but will not protect against theft. A pattern lock offers a simple pattern to unlock, usually using nine or 12 buttons. The phone is locked unless the sequence is completed. This is one of the weakest options for cell phone protection, but it is more secure than unlocked phone. A PIN lock option requires users to enter a four (or more) digit number code on the lock screen to unlock the device. Although a PIN offers moderate protection against malice, it can be hacked.

More secure than the PIN function is facial recognition. With unique biomarkers, device security is higher than a traditional numeric PIN. Unfortunately, the above vulnerabilities need to be assessed before use (unintentional unlocking, using photos or videos to open the home screen, and potential access while sleeping with some devices). The password function is the most secure lock function of the mobile phone. It can contain alphanumeric codes with a minimum of four characters. Passwords can be difficult to remember, which can be problematic for a device that is not used regularly.

It is important to remember that two-step verification (using multiple password protections in sequence) on cell phones is not available. Users will need to set the unlock method that works best for them.

David balaban

David Balaban is a computer security researcher with more than 17 years of experience in malware analysis and antivirus software evaluation. David runs Privacy-PC.com Y MacSecurity.net projects that present expert opinions on contemporary information security issues, including social engineering, malware, penetration testing, threat intelligence, online privacy, and white hat hacking. David has a solid background in troubleshooting malware, with a recent focus on ransomware countermeasures.


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