When your face can unlock your phone is anything really secure? Facial recognition software has the ability to make our lives easier by making it easier to use our mobile devices and apps in a more secure manner without having to memorize a string of 14 random characters. But facial recognition software is becoming more pervasive, being used by police departments on body cameras and more. Is it worth giving up your privacy and anonymity really worth it if the technology may not even be secure? Biometric security technology uses a collection of technologies that use biological identifiers, such as fingerprints, retinal scans, DNA scans, and facial recognition to verify that you are who you say you are.
Famously, facial recognition software has been shown to be flawed spectacularly in many different ways. For people with darker skin, facial recognition software has been shown to have lower accuracy. This has led many states and municipalities to ban the use of the technology for police departments.
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On mobile devices, the technology has proven to be equally flawed. Some cybersecurity researchers have found interesting ways around the system. In one case, photos from a social media profile on another phone were able to unlock the facial recognition lock on another phone. In another case, someone printed out a photo of the device’s owner and cut it to fit over their own face and were able to gain entry. Members of families, even distant cousins, have also been shown to be able to beat the facial recognition technology.
Biometric security explained
This is why biometric technologies don’t often work alone. Some require pins and passwords to activate, while others pay attention to the use of the phone to identify whether you are who you are supposed to be. Your phone knows everything from where you are when you use it most frequently to how you hold it when you make a phone call or text someone to your finger movements and gestures. This combination of technologies makes it more secure than traditional pins and passwords.
Biometric security is safe because it is so difficult to bypass without being noticed. It takes a great deal of effort to bypass biometric security measures, and each device has its own proprietary biometrics, so there is no standardized way to go about it. The movies make it look easy, and while it is easy, it’s still a lot of trouble.
Learn more about the future of biometric security below.