Our mobile phones have, more and more, personal data such as private conversations, bank details, and even the monitoring of our health. That is why throughout these years we have seen different biometric security methods such as fingerprints or facial unlocking that became popular with the launch of the iPhone X.
Since then, many Android manufacturers have joined this trend, some with more or less success, depending directly on the type of facial recognition. It is precisely this security method that has been studied by the Which? website, which has analyzed various mobiles to check your security level.
A photo to fool the facial recognition of 40% of Android mobiles
Due to the fact that each manufacturer chooses a type of facial recognition, the study has carried out a mobile selection from different brands including Honor, Motorola, OPPO, Samsung and Xiaomi (along with Redmi and POCO).
In total, there are up to 19 different terminals, all of them with the ability to unlock through facial recognition. Of course, they belong to different ranges, something that should not be determinative to offer security to the user.
The researchers have contacted the manufacturers involved, receiving in response something that we all knew: face unlock is not secure. In fact, Samsung itself ensures that the highest level of security is provided by fingerprint readers. Others such as HMD Global (owner of Nokia) or Vivo comment that they already warn the user when they configure it, warning about their insecurity when using similar objects or people.
we have verified These warnings in different models that we had by the newsroom and it is true that they all have this point in common: without exception, they notify us before activating it that it may not be as safe as other methods. First let’s see the case of Samsung, cautioned from its official website.
The Chinese manufacturer TCL it also warns us about this unlocking method.
Yet another case, Nothing on your Phone (1). Although this time, the warning is short and therefore less explanatory. Xiaomi also names the possibility for a third party to gain access using a photograph or similar object.
Despite the fact that the European Telecommunications Standards Institute establishes as a (voluntary) standard that facial recognition systems cannot be falsified more than once per 50,000, there are few manufacturers following it.
To organize the results, the website categorizes mobiles into three classes, with Class 3 systems having the highest level and not accepting counterfeits more than 7% of the time. Instead, those of class 1 are the least safewith a counterfeit rate equal to or greater than 20% of the time.
Use in bank applications and payment platforms
The study has also verified some applications that can be blocked using this security method. A clear example are the financial or banking apps, but luckily, most require some additional verification method. Whether asking for the password or some numerical code, these measures mitigate the risk that a person can be identified by circumventing facial recognition.
It is curious, to say the least, that Apple’s iPhones are the most compatible with bank applications, because as confirmed on the website, the Face ID has not been deceived by a 2D photograph.
On the other hand, the security of Google Wallet, the Mountain View company’s payment platform, is also analyzed. Although Google itself states that to unlock a payment it is necessary to have a level 3 biometric security system, scammers could have access to data as the digits of our card because it would be enough for them to unlock the mobile.
In short, this interesting research leaves us a clear message: since facial identification is optional, it is recommended to disable it and opt for more secure methods such as PIN or fingerprint sensor. Other extra security measures go through logging out of applications that contain sensitive information or deactivating the NFC of our phone when it is blocked.
Via | Which?
Cover Image | Pepu Ricca with Bing Image Creator
In Xataka Mobile | The security of your WiFi may be at risk: protect your router by reviewing these aspects