Are facial biometrics safe?

Face biometric technology offers the ability to authenticate customers in a user-friendly way and simultaneously strengthen security.
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A biometric system verifies the veracity of a certain physiological or behavioural feature of a person. In today's world of mobile security, biometrics is used extensively. The system takes into account the various aspects of features like voice, retina, iris, hand, finger, and signature to establish identity.

Facial biometrics have just been added to this list, providing yet another way to authenticate in a more secure manner.

Face recognition is a biometric technology that uses facial traits to identify a person. Face metric and eigenface are the two basic facial recognition systems. Face metric examines unique aspects of the face using the standard, or canonical, face image.

The algorithm of eigenface technology functions in a different way as it changes the presented face’s lighting by using different scales of light and dark in a specific pattern.

The ability to conduct facial recognition without physically touching the machine enables speedy and covert verification of human identity. The software can photograph people's faces in public places, which can then compare them to related databases.

In light of this, even if the technology is not yet widely used in present world settings but it will eventually be useful in the near future for a variety of industries, including the public sector, private sector, etc.

Liveness strengthening face biometrics

For a facial recognition system to be accepted as an efficient way of verification, it needs to discern between a genuine live face and an attempt to fool the system with an artificial depiction of a face.

Thus, automated detection of presentation attacks, specifically liveness detection, has become a necessary component of any authentication system based on face biometric technology where a trusted human is not supervising the authentication attempt. A variety of approaches exist to detect liveness. At a high level, these can be classified as active and passive liveness. Also, it addresses the fear that an individual's biometric data may be compromised.

Active liveness detection asks users to take part in the liveness check by responding to a challenge, such as nodding or turning their heads side to side, blinking, following a dot on a screen, smiling, speaking a string of words or numbers, moving the camera toward their face or stooping over and leaning into it, or taking a brief video.

No user activity is necessary for passive liveness detection. The user's selfie triggers the liveness detection. There are many methods for passive liveness, such as evaluating a selfie image, recording a video, or shining various lights on the person.

Each passive liveness strategy affects the user experience, and processing needs differently. It eliminates face biometric security flaws without reintroducing friction to the authentication procedure. The technology operates rapidly in the background and doesn't require user education.

Facial liveness detection combined with face biometrics provides powerful identity proofing and authentication whenever an application needs to verify a person’s identity without a trusted human supervising the face matching process. The processes like digital onboarding for new customers and accounts, securing the digital customer, payment authentication, and cardless access have become secure and smooth thanks to the advancements in face biometric technology.

Face biometric technology offers the ability to authenticate customers in a user-friendly way and simultaneously strengthen security. The technology uses unique mathematical and dynamic patterns that work as a face scanner to take details of every human anthropometric feature, making it safe and effective.

The development and use of facial recognition technology in India have been growing over the years as a tool for security, solving crime, and tracking and identifying different categories of persons. RBI has also approved the concept of video KYC for customer authentication. Similar regulatory bodies like SEBI and IRDA have also approved the process resulting in 53 companies using Aadhar for e-KYC verification.

Edited by Affirunisa Kankudti

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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