Biometric Security, iPhone X and the Privacy Concern
Smartphone savvy people are very excited about Apple's new avatar iPhone X. The Face ID with 3D face sensing and authentication technology of iPhone X makes it very attractive and unique in the market. It can unlock the phone with 3D face recognition. It doesn't (and can't) unlock the phone with a 2D color photograph of the human face. So physical presence is necessary to unlock the phone. That is an advantage of biometric authentication. But how much secure is the biometric template? Can it be hacked? What about the privacy? Several questions surface.
[Photo from iPhone X introduction by Apple in California on September 12, 2017]
How much secure is iPhone X with 3D face ID?
People are very happy, because iPhone X is secure with 3D face recognition. It does not unlock the phone with 2D color image of the human face. Apple gave assurance that the phone learns to recognize with and without beard, varied haircuts. But if you have gone too much change in your facial appearance, the phone may fail to recognize.
Can the phone unlock with masked faces?
[WSJ's Joanna Stern put it to the test with masks, costumes and identical triplets]
Extensive reviews are available with mask and heavy makeups. The reviews say that the phone can't unlock with the eyes closed. To unlock one need to close and open the eyes once. That probably serves as a liveness test for the face.
I guess a 3D printed Face model may be able to work
One may use quality 3D shape sensing technology and 3D print the 3D face models. The 3D face models with blinking eyes similar to superior quality dolls may be able to unlock the phone. The blinking eyes may pass the liveness test and unlock the phone.
But there remains some privacy concerns
Apple replied to the question raised regarding security and privacy by an US senator last month. They said that the Face IDs will be securely stored with encryption to protect privacy of the customers' data. If the data are hacked, like earlier data hacks, will the data be safe at the hands of the hackers? Is the privacy protection good enough to save the hacked data from unauthorized use?
Biometric security system can survive only if the biometric data are privacy protected. It requires a multimodal and multilevel biometric authentication as well as privacy protection. It may take a little bit of more computational processing but it will yield robust security for the precious personal and financial data.
This week I am privileged to be featured on the 375th Podcast of LinkedIn Top Tech Voice Neil Hughes. Listen to our discussion on "The Inconvenient Truth About Biometric Security and Privacy Protection".
Here are some other posts I authored:
- Why are Data so Vulnerable?
- Glasses-Free 3D Displays Empower Smartphones, TVs, Tablets and Digital Signage
- Memory-Driven Computing is the Next Big Thing
- Why GNU/Linux is not Accepted by the Academic Community?
- Unix-like Operating Systems are Safer to Malware and Virus Attacks
- Why Google and Microsoft Run after Glass and Lens?
- Power of a LinkedIn Connection
- Best Solution to Software Virus
- Need 15 Tips to Eat a Biscuit?
In June 2015, Dr. Jeffrey Strickland and I founded a new LinkedIn Group called "The Unfluencers". To learn about the history of "The Unfluencers" please read the seminal LinkedIn article by Dr. Jeffrey Strickland entitled -- "Who are the Unfluencers". This group is an open group. You are welcome to join this group and engage yourself in the discussions. The Unfluencerᵀᴹ Logo is a registered trademark of Dr. Jeffrey Strickland.
Text Copyright 2017 Debesh Choudhury — All Rights Reserved
Debesh Choudhury is an academician and researcher. He is interested in the science and engineering of optics and electronics. He uses GNU/Linux, Free and Open Source Software for all his works related to computers, be it educational or entertainment, professional or personal.
#iPhoneX #faceID #Biometrics #DataPrivacy