The facial recognition scan would work somewhat similar to a selfie, requiring users to look at their phone’s camera for a couple of seconds. The app would require them to blink to prove that they are not just pre-taken photos. There is no info whether the app will work only on phones with frontal cameras or work with traditional back cameras.
The scan would then be translated into a binary code version which will be received by MasterCard. The company is currently trialing the app with 500 of its customers, while also requesting fingerprint recognition until it tailors out the eventual bugs.
It also announced that it had partnered with most of the major smartphone manufacturers in a bid to ensure that the app would be available to as many of their customers as possible. Apparently, there also plans of including heartbeat and voice recognition software in the future to lower any possible security risks.
Mastercard’s security expert, Ajay Bhalla, declared for CNN that the facial recognition app would cater to the newer generation, in which selfies have become a common practice.
However, Pen Test Partners security researcher Ken Munro is of a different opinion, stating that facial recognition software for commercial use should always be accompanied by extra security measures, as it is not one hundred percent secure at this moment.
Google previously introduced facial recognition-based security to unlock its Android phones, but it has been continuously plagued by security issues. Pre-made photos of the phone’s owner could be used by other persons to unlock the phone. Google still offers it as an option for its Nexus smartphones and tablets, but states that it is less secure than using a PIN, pattern or password, and that a similar looking person could be able to unlock your phone.
Even the blinking aspect could be overridden according to Munro, who said that past attempts at it were outplayed by people animating photographs with eyelids, which isn’t a complicated thing to do if you know how to use editing programs. He also pointed out that commercial biometrics have not evolved to point to which you could say they are infallible.
The Mastercard facial recognition app is not the first attempt to use it as a security measure for financial transactions. Chinese shopping firm Alibaba had demonstrated a similar app earlier this year, but has yet to launch it or announce anything else regarding it. Also, USAA, a financial services company which caters to families of U.S. Army members offers such mobile facial recognition as a log-in option.
Image Source: ECreditTVDaily