Remember This Face: Can Face Recognition Replace Passwords On PCs?

December 13, 2013 – by Peter B. Counter     

Contrarians, detractors and those who generally resist or object to the post-password paradigm being heralded in by consortia such as FIDO, the Natural Security Alliance and NSTIC stand by password logins, shielding their stance with arguments that nothing beats a good old fashioned password. This worldview when it comes to virtual security is unfortunate for a few reasons, one being that it spreads the false idea that passwords are in anyway more secure than biometric authentication. Users are free to believe what they like, though, and if some want to stick to proper password practices, they can.

The fact of the matter is that most people aren’t willing to observe said practices, and enterprises increasingly can’t afford to deal with the costly security risks that come with antiquated password systems and employees that use the same character sequences for all logins. Passwords are expensive liabilities for organizations and stressful inconveniences for users.

Face recognition is a strong contender for password replacement because of its extremely low friction authentication process: look at a camera. With facial recognition you don’t remember passwords, your device remembers you.

Recent innovations in facial recognition are making it an easy choice for enterprises specifically. Sensible Vision’s FastAccess, for example, now available in its recently announced 5th generation, is designed as a login authentication password replacement for use in businesses running Windows on PCs and tablets. In addition to the general convenience face recognition offers, FastAccess has made marked improvements in speed and spoof detection.

Sensible Vision says that this newest entry in the FastAccess is 2.5 times faster than previous entries in the solution that has been available in it’s various previous versions since 2006. Version 5.0 also boasts increased accuracy: detecting micro-motions in the face which improves the rejection rate on photo and video-based spoofing attempts.

In the end however, the end user experience is what is on the line here. George Brostoff, CEO of Sensible Vision says, “This new release further enhances the user experience by reducing password typing by up to 400 percent. Logging into Windows and websites is almost instantaneous with no passwords to type or remember, even in some of the most challenging lighting conditions.”

The need is there for a strong password alternative, and this Windows ready solution is likely just the beginning for people who use PCs at home or at work. Microsoft made good on all of its claims of support for biometric sign in methods earlier this week, by joining the FIDO Alliance’s board of directorsFace recognition for account management is a feature on Microsoft’s newest videogame console, the Xbox One, so there is no reason that facial biometrics can’t be a great fit for signing on to other hardware.