Is Facial Identification Security Safe?

November 7, 2017, Written By Natalie Rutledge

Both Samsung and Apple have introduced phones that require facial identification to unlock the device or use payment apps, such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay.

In preparation for this move, OCBC Bank in Singapore has updated all of its banking apps so customers can simply look at their phone to complete transactions, such as making payments or viewing statements.

Aditya Gupta, Head of E-Business in Singapore, told Vulcan Post that customers are excited about this new biometric technology. “There’s a whole generation of customers becoming more comfortable with biometric authentication technology, and we are confident that they will find OCBC OneLook truly impressive and relevant.”

In the United States, though, there still seems to be some doubt about the safety of such technology. In a study done by eMarketer, only 34% of respondents said they had a favorable view of facial recognition software in mobile devices, and 39% said they had an unfavorable opinion.

The biggest question with this technology is the security. Apple claims FaceID is secure because the 3D, color-based image-recognition technology helps prevent spoofing. Apple tested the system with masks created by Hollywood make-up artists, and most were not able to trick FaceID.

However, just days ago, two brothers posted a video on Reddit. In that post, one man was able to unlock his brother’s phone with his face, which goes against Apple’s claim that “Face ID only unlocks iPhone X when customers look at it.” While the brothers look similar, they are not identical twins.

Additionally, just last year, researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were able to trick facial recognition software. They used pictures that people had posted to social media to print 3D copies. They used these models and were able to fool four of the five systems that they tested 55% to 85% of the time.

The other concern is that, unlike a numerical passcode, you cannot change your face if your phone gets hacked. If someone finds a way to copy your head, through 3D printer or some other technology, they will always have access to your system.

While only time will tell, it seems as if iPhone X users should tread carefully with this new technology.



The information contained within this article was accurate as of November 7, 2017. For up-to-date
information on any of the terms, cards or offers mentioned above, visit the issuer's website.


About Natalie Rutledge

Natalie Rutledge majored in Communications at Mississippi State University. She was in sales for a number of businesses and spent nine years working as a communications advisor to various entities. Natalie can be contacted directly at [email protected]
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