It’s hard to believe that facial recognition technology has been available on smartphones for six years. No code entry. All you have to do is look at the camera, and voila, your phone is unlocked. The ultimate in convenience and ease of use, right?
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However, while facial recognition technology can provide security, not all phone models are as secure as you may have thought. In fact, recent tests by the nonprofit consumer organization Who? found a number of smartphones from major brands, including Samsung, Nokia and Motorola, have a flaw that could be exploited by criminals to unlock the screen and steal your personal information. Here’s what we know and what you can do if you own one of these models.
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Which phones are most likely to be unlocked with low resolution photos?
The British group called Who says it tested the facial recognition quality of 48 different phones and found that 19 of those devices couldn’t pass. Some of the brands included in these tests were Samsung, Motorola, Oppo, Nokia, Xiaomi, and Vivo phones.
Here is a list of the 19 models that failed the phone safety test:
- Honor 70
- Motorola Razr 2022
- Motorola Moto E13
- Motorola Moto G13
- Motorola Moto G23
- Nokia G60 5G
- Nokia X30 5G
- Oppo A57
- Oppo A57s
- Samsung Galaxy A23 5G
- Samsung Galaxy M53 5G
- Vivo Y76 5G
- Xiaomi POCO M5
- Xiaomi POCO M5s
- Xiaomi X5 Pro
- Xiaomi 12T
- Xiaomi 12T Pro
- Xiaomi 12 Lite
- Xiaomi 13
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During the test, the team of Who used photos of phone owners to see if they could unlock the phone without using the owner’s real face. Surprisingly, some of the photos were even low-res 2D photos, but they could still unlock the models listed above. This is very different from Apple phones, which have passed all the tests carried out by Who? because Apple’s Face ID uses a combination of infrared sensors and machine learning algorithms to create a depth map of the user’s face.
MORE: HOW TO UNLOCK YOUR PHONE WITH FACE RECOGNITION EVEN WHEN YOU’RE WEARING YOUR GLASSES
What does this mean for these phone models?
Unfortunately, there are currently no meaningful laws requiring phone manufacturers to implement stricter biometric security for their devices. However, some apps, such as banking apps, may impose their own additional requirements to verify a person’s identity so that it is not solely dependent on the use of facial recognition.
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AlsoWho said that these phones would fall into the class 1 biometric group. This means that some manufacturers, such as Android, for example, will not allow phones in this category to be used by third-party applications to log in or to confirm actions important. While their lack of facial recognition technology is a bit of a concern, there are still some safeguards in place.
MORE: HOW TO STOP GOOGLE FROM ITS SCARY WAY OF USING YOU FOR FACIAL RECOGNITION
Can I do anything else if I use one of these phone models?
Opt for a secure alternative
If you have one of the phone models listed above, it would probably be best if you turned off your facial recognition technology. You better use a secure password, PIN or even a fingerprint sensor if your phone has one. Although facial recognition is generally recommended, these other alternatives would be more useful for these models.
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Be careful with app permissions
Review the permissions requested by apps on your phone. Limit the permissions given to apps to ensure they only access necessary features and data. For example, be careful when granting apps access to the camera unless it’s essential.
Enable two-factor authentication (2FA)
Enable 2FA whenever possible, especially for critical accounts such as email, banking, or social media. Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring an additional verification step, usually via a unique code sent to your phone.
Check your device settings regularly
Take the time to review and adjust your device’s privacy and security settings. This may include disabling unnecessary features or permissions that may compromise your privacy or security.
Use strong and unique passwords
Make sure you have strong and unique passwords for your accounts. Avoid using easily guessed or common passwords. Consider using a password manager to securely store and generate strong passwords for you. It will help you create unique and hard-to-crack passwords that a hacker could never guess. Second, it also keeps track of all your passwords in one place and fills in the passwords for you when you log into an account so you never have to remember them yourself. The fewer passwords you remember, the less likely you are to reuse them for your accounts.
What qualities should I look for in a password manager?
When it comes to choosing the best password manager for you, here are some of my top tips.
- Deploy secure
- Works seamlessly on all your devices
- Create unique complicated passwords which are different for each account
- Automatically fills login and password fields for apps and sites you revisit
- Has a browser extension for all browsers you use to automatically insert passwords for you
- Allows a fail-safe in case of loss or forgetting of the main password
- Checks that your existing passwords remain secure and alert you if ever compromised
- Uses two-factor authentication security
Check out my best expert-reviewed password managers of 2023 by visiting CyberGuy.com/Passwords
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Kurt’s main takeaways
Facial recognition technology is great when it works 100% effectively. However, on some phone models, including those from Samsung, Motorola, Oppo, Nokia, Xiaomi and Vivo, it was found to be less secure in a recent test by a nonprofit consumer organization. Who. The group discovered that some smartphones could be unlocked with low-resolution photos of owners. These worrying results underscore the need for stronger biometric security measures, however, in the meantime, if you own one of these phones, I advise you to disable facial recognition and opt for more secure alternatives like passcodes. access or fingerprint sensors.
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