Ap­ple’s bio­met­ric flaw head­wind to fin­tech

The Korea Times - - FINANCE - By Park Jae-hyuk [email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

A re­cent al­leged glitch in Ap­ple’s “Face ID” has raised con­cerns among con­sumers, who have been wary of us­ing bio­met­ric au­then­ti­ca­tion for fi­nan­cial trans­ac­tions on mo­bile de­vices since sim­i­lar er­rors were found in Sam­sung and Google smart­phones, ac­cord­ing to in­dus­try of­fi­cials, Fri­day.

Last Thurs­day, sev­eral lo­cal news out­lets, in­clud­ing MBN and JTBC, re­ported that a child made pay­ments of 9.6 mil­lion won ($8,200) af­ter us­ing his fa­ther’s iPhone X smart­phone af­ter un­lock­ing the fa­cial recog­ni­tion sys­tem.

Although the fa­ther in his 40s reg­is­tered his fa­cial in­for­ma­tion to his smart­phone, the son was able to ac­cess the de­vice as his own face re­sem­bles his fa­ther’s, the broad­cast­ers said.

The iPhone user sur­named Kim asked Ap­ple for a re­fund but was de­nied, ac­cord­ing to the re­ports.

“The prob­a­bil­ity that a ran­dom per­son in the pop­u­la­tion could look at your iPhone or iPad Pro and un­lock it us­ing Face ID is ap­prox­i­mately 1 in 1 mil­lion with a sin­gle en­rolled ap­pear­ance,” the U.S. tech gi­ant wrote on its of­fi­cial web­site.

“The sta­tis­ti­cal prob­a­bil­ity is dif­fer­ent for twins and sib­lings that look like you and among chil­dren un­der the age of 13, be­cause their dis­tinct fa­cial fea­tures may not have fully de­vel­oped.”

Ap­ple’s bio­met­ric ver­i­fi­ca­tion meth­ods are the ba­sis of the Ap­ple Pay mo­bile pay­ment sys­tem and part of the re­cently launched Ap­ple Card, a vir­tual credit card the tech firm re­leased in the United States, Aug. 20, through its part­ner­ship with Gold­man Sachs and Master­card.

In ad­di­tion, most com­mer­cial banks here al­low their cus­tomers to use Face ID as a method to log in to their mo­bile apps, although they were re­luc­tant to adopt the sys­tem when it was first in­tro­duced. Some of them even en­able their cus­tomers to use the fa­cial recog­ni­tion sys­tem for a lim­ited re­mit­tance amount.

They have yet to come up with mea­sures against the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion method which is likely to have flaws.

How­ever, they are ex­pected to coun­ter­act the se­cu­rity con­cerns soon, con­sid­er­ing that they rec­om­mended their cus­tomers use other au­then­ti­ca­tion meth­ods when Sam­sung smart­phones’ in-screen fin­ger­print scan­ners were found to be vul­ner­a­ble to unau­tho­rized ac­cess.

Ex­perts ad­vise fi­nan­cial con­sumers and com­pa­nies to be aware of po­ten­tial se­cu­rity flaws in bio­met­ric tech­nolo­gies.

“Just like other au­then­ti­ca­tion meth­ods, er­rors can oc­cur in bio­met­ric tech­nolo­gies, so the ba­sic prin­ci­ple of any se­cu­rity sys­tem de­sign is lay­ered se­cu­rity, which refers to a sys­tem us­ing mul­ti­ple mea­sures,” said Kim Se­ung-joo, a pro­fes­sor at Ko­rea Univer­sity’s School of Cy­ber­se­cu­rity.

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