- September 20, 2021
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If you use facial recognition on your smartphone, the face of someone else – a sibling or someone like you – could also “unlock” it. But why does Face ID sometimes fail?
How does face recognition on a smartphone work?
Many face recognition systems work with infrared scanning rather than the visible spectrum, which cannot scan your face in the dark.
In general, facial unlock works by using the front camera to evaluate unique patterns and contours on your face. This is why setting up a facial recognition lock on your new smartphone (if included with the feature) requires an initial scan of your face.
After scanning, it stores the details of your face in its memory and translates them into some mathematical expressions. Your smartphone compares this information with your face for secure access authentication the next time you try to unlock it.
Most face recognition technologies available today, however, combine a range of infrared emissions with the real algorithm while collecting your face image in 2D arrays. The idea behind this is to avoid breaking the system.
Ultimately, infrared broadcasting allows your phone to accurately scan your face, even in the dark.
Why can face recognition fail?
Conventional spectrum camera scanning, of course, could often have some errors. It could even scan and authorize access with the face of your relative or even a stranger. In addition, you are more likely to cheat on this technology using a photo of yourself.
This technology is no longer used in modern smartphones. However, even the technology that is now in operation sometimes has errors. So while we cannot analyze how and why the face recognition of any available smartphone can fail, we can identify some causes through some examples.
Samsung’s iris recognition technology is accurate but can be tricked. This is a technology that started with the Galaxy S8 and S8 +, with the aim of improving the security of the phone. The technology works by scanning unique patterns in the iris of your eye.
Because the iris pattern is unique to each person, Samsung described it as a fool-proof technology. Unfortunately, there are some possible bugs with this scanning method, as you can still cheat it by wearing contact lenses.
And despite combining 2D imaging with iris scanning in more recent versions such as the S21 series, Samsung warns that using facial recognition is not as secure as using a PIN or fingerprint scanner. The company also recommends not using this feature on online payment and money transfer platforms.
Why is Huawei 2D Live Detection not completely safe?
Huawei has introduced face recognition security for the first time in the P20 series and has since added this feature to other products such as the Mate 10 and Y series 2018.
Huawei called it 2D Live Detection technology, which is similar to the face recognition function of other Android phones. This technology makes it difficult for anyone to unlock your smartphone with your photos, as it does not work without some facial actions like an eye. Therefore, your phone may not turn on if you do not follow the rule, even when scanning your face.
Additionally, this feature depends on the current status of your smartphone’s front camera. This way, someone like you can unlock your smartphone on rare occasions. Of course, an inaccurate camera can further affect the accuracy of the set-up.
Of course recently, Huawei introduced the new 3D Face Recognition that allows you to safely unlock your smartphone under any circumstances and even in total darkness.
Why Can Apple Face ID Fail?
Apple Face ID, which was released with the iPhone X in 2017, is still the most advanced smartphone face recognition system currently on the market. Unlike Huawei and Samsung’s 2D and iris scanning technology, Apple captures a 3D capture of your face using a TrueDepth camera system instead of a single front-facing camera.
TrueDepth technology combines infrared capture with sensors and scanning components. It then uses them to analyze more than 30,000 dashed areas on your face during a scan, to create a depth of face.
As your iPhone learns, memorizes and recognizes these patterns, it takes more than just a photo and someone’s face to be deceived. Apple Face ID works by adapting to changes in your facial expression and appearance over time. This contrasts with the unique iris face recognition. And that means it is more expensive. Surprisingly, Apple Face ID sometimes successfully unlocks the phone after scanning someone with a strong resemblance to its original owner.
Apple claims that there is a one in a million chance that other people’s faces will unlock your iPhone. They also suggest that the probability is higher with identical twins, siblings and children whose facial structures are not yet fully developed.
This is because Face ID learns more about your face every time you enter your Apple passcode. Disclosing your passcode to a person may result in a security breach and you may not need your passcode to unlock your iPhone in the future.
How to prevent your device from being unlocked by others.
While facial recognition failure on your smartphone is not your fault, there are still some ways you can prevent this from happening if you use the feature.
Failures on iPhones can be the result of an algorithm that learns the designs of others’ faces. To avoid this, you should not share your Apple ID with others. Also, be careful not to open your iPhone with your Apple ID in the presence of someone who looks like you.
Some smartphone makers have warned that face authentication may present some security issues, especially with online transactions. Fingerprints and PINs are still the safest way to keep your phone locked or prevent unauthorized access to your device.
eCREDO uses biometric authentication when it comes to unlocking your eCREDO Mobile App, that is fingerprint, face recognition, iris recognition or whichever unlocking feature your smartphone supports. The application is available for Android and iOS.
In order to login, a strong password is required every time you login in, as the application itself does not save your password on your device for security reasons. In case you forget your password, by following the instructions given to you by the “Forgot your password” section, a “reset your password” email will be sent to you so you can follow the instructions and create a new password.
In case of 3 failed authentication attempts via password, then the account gets automatically blocked. In order to unblock your account, a thoroughly explanatory process will be sent to you via email.
Despite the security provided by face recognition on a smartphone, there is room for improvement. There are developments in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), to train and improve the accuracy of facial recognition models. Research has come a long way in developing image recognition technologies that can recognize you even when you are wearing a face mask. So, there is enough room for further improvements in newer versions smartphones.