16 July 2022

How Safe Is Face ID?

Not all too long ago, all we had to do to use our mobile devices was flip open a screen and start dialling. However, as mobile devices became more and more prevalent, we started using them for a lot more than simple phone calls. As our devices morphed into mini-computers capable of accessing our bank accounts, health information, emails, and other highly sensitive data, the need to guarantee their security became crucial. In a span of less than twenty years, we went from no passwords, to typed in passwords, and back to no passwords!

Why? Certainly not because our data became less sensitive. In fact, the urgency to protect this data led to even more secure and innovative security measures. With a little luck, a hacker can crack your mobile device’s password. However, it’s nearly impossible to replicate you. Or more specifically, your fingerprints and your face. In fact, there’s a one in 50,000 chance of your fingerprint scan being hacked and a one in a million chance of your Face ID getting hacked. So transitioning to such an incredibly strong authentication process, one that renders your devices almost inaccessible to malicious attacks, makes absolute sense!

But what exactly is Face ID?

Face ID is basically just what it sounds like. Your face, and its unique features, is used to confirm your identity on your digital devices. Once your face is stored on your device, it can easily be used for authentication of your identity.

How does it work? The entire backbone of fingerprint and Face ID is biometric security. When you set up Face ID, your device scans your face and creates a facial map using your unique physiological features. These features are recorded (encrypted) directly onto your device as data points, most commonly referred to as biometric characteristics, in the form of a 3D image. Once this unique identifier is stored in your device’s memory, you will be immediately recognizable to the device when you look into the screen.

Face ID is also incredibly smart. It detects potential changes in your facial features that might occur over time (like wrinkles or bags under your eyes) and ‘learns’ (machine learning) your slightly altered biometric characteristics. That means you don’t have to worry about a few sleepless nights making you unrecognizable to your device.

What should you watch out for?

As mentioned, Face ID in and of itself is an exceptionally safe biometric security system. However, many Face ID providers continue to pair Face ID with a password. Unfortunately, this compromises the overall security of Face ID since it can be overridden via far weaker password security. If you opt for Face ID to protect your most sensitive data, it is best to choose a system that only relies on biometric security, i.e., a passwordless system. This ensures the utmost security for your data since it prevents the circumvention of biometric security protocols.

Why choose Face ID?

We’ve already mentioned how easy it is to bypass password security systems. A large reason for that is how we as users deal with our passwords. In order to make access to our accounts and our information as easy as possible (for us!), we reuse passwords or rely on easy to crack passwords (1-2-3-4-5-6). Replacing passwords with Face ID eliminates the biggest threat to our security: ourselves, or better put our unwillingness to dedicate the time and effort to creating and typing in uncrackable passwords.

Face ID is fast, comfortable, and smart. It is exactly the tool that we, as quick and savvy users of new digital technologies, need in order to guarantee the right level of ease and security to keep our online experiences enjoyable and our data safe.

Original article on Nevis’ website