Exploring Facial Recognition Technology, Good or Bad

Exploring Facial Recognition Technology, the Good and the Bad

The explosion of smartphone adoption in everyday life has led to the application of facial recognition technology which is also growing rapidly. This technology adds a very strong layer in terms of device security. Using biometric analysis, this technology utilizes facial mapping to unlock the device, comparing it to the scanned face with the one in the database.

The facial recognition technology market is predicted to exceed $8.5 billion by 2025, an increase of 17.2% since 2020. The driving factor is the use of facial recognition technology in various personal and commercial applications.

While facial recognition technology can be very helpful in confirming a person’s identity, it also has its own problems, especially when it comes to privacy.

Although facial recognition technology varies, the basic concept remains the same. Basically, this technology takes a face image of the user. The software then identifies the basic geometry of the face, including the distance between the eyes, the space between the forehead and the chin, and other markings on the face.

The user’s face will later be stored in the system as a mathematical formula. When the user activates facial recognition, the smartphone will analyze the scanned face with the stored formula. If it matches, then the smartphone lock will be unlocked. Some devices will record anyone trying to unlock a locked smartphone, storing it in a database or in a cloud service.

Strengths and weaknesses

Undeniably, the main advantage of using facial recognition is its convenience. Users don’t have to remember a PIN or password, and just scan their face to access the device. For users looking to add a simple layer of security, facial recognition technology offers complex protection against unauthorized access.

Unfortunately, this technology also brings with it a number of vulnerabilities of its own. Previous research has highlighted the shortcomings of this technology. One of them is a gap that can be exploited with just a few modifications to the tip of the eye. It was also found that 42 of the 110 devices tested, could be hacked using only the owner’s photo. This finding shows that smartphone security is impenetrable, even when the user is unconscious.

Is Facial Recognition Technology Worth Using?

Users have at least five options to secure their smartphone devices. Leaving your device unlocked will make it easier to access, but won’t protect you from third-party threats.

Pattern locks offer simple locking, typically using 9 or 12 keys. The device will be locked unless the correct pattern is entered. This is the weakest layer of security offered, but it’s safer than not implementing any locks at all.

Then there is the use of a PIN, which requires the user to enter a 4 or more digit number to unlock. While this provides a medium level of protection, it still has vulnerabilities to penetrate. Then there is something more secure than a PIN, namely facial recognition. With unique biometric tagging, device security is higher than traditional PINs. However, it also has vulnerabilities as discussed above.

Password provides the most secure security function on a smartphone. It can use a combined letter or number code, with a minimum of four-digit characters. Passwords may be difficult to remember, which poses a problem for devices that are rarely used.

From the several types of security methods above, of course, you can conclude which method is the most secure and suits your needs. Most importantly, always lock your smartphone device.