Protecting personal information – with a smile

Written by on July 2, 2015 in Opinion with 2 Comments

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The subject of security is top of the agenda. Almost every day – let’s face it every day – we hear stories of cyber criminals getting into hugely sensitive systems and making off with personal and corporate information. Even our smartphones are not secure – with at least 13 ways that criminals can hack them.

Companies are therefore very focused on reducing or eliminating this problem. Recently, there have been great advances. Apple introduced its fingerprint technology for accessing the iPhone. Others followed suit. But fingerprint technology is not infallible. As one bloodthirsty friend of DisruptiveViews said recently ‘it is easy enough to chop a finger off.’ Or, if you don’t feel like actually chopping bits of people off in order to get into their iPhone, you could force someone to allow your fingerprint to unlock the phone.

Once unlocked, criminals can run amok.

So, is there a completely fool-proof method of making sure the person unlocking the smartphone is the person that should be unlocking the smartphone?

The answer is probably not, because whenever someone comes up with a new way of creating a security wall, someone infinitely darker comes up with a way of getting round it, or through it.

Facial recognition might be an answer. It seems that facial recognition is definitely going mobile and is another fast growing market. It might be part of the solution when it comes to mobile authentication. Obviously it would have to be used as part of the solution and not the solution itself. A head, let’s face it, is not a finger and there are probably easy enough ways for facial recognition software to tell the difference between a live face and a dead one. Of course, it is not easy to get around the same coercion that could apply to a fingerprint, but a combination of facial recognition and a PIN would provide a good level of security. One reason that facial recognition works when you are going through security is that it is a busy area and you are being watched by all sorts of cameras. For that situation, though, it is pretty effective.

The real answer to these security questions is that while techniques such as facial recognition will help enormously, we will only ever play ‘catch-up’ with the bad guys. And it is unlikely that one solution alone will work totally effectively. Solutions will have to be combinations of answers, not a single one.

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About the Author

About the Author: Alex was Founder and CEO of the Global Billing Association (GBA), a trade body focused on the communications sector. He is a sought after speaker and chairman at leading industry conferences, and is widely published in communications magazines around the world. Until it closed, he was Contributing Editor, OSS/BSS for Connected Planet. He is publisher of DisruptiveViews and previously BillingViews. .


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