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iOS to Ditch Passcode, Deploys Facial Recognition Tool

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By Vittorio Hernandez | February 11, 2013 11:37 AM EST

Apple is planning to welcome the Facial Recognition tool as part of iOS device unlocking system. Currently, iPhones use passcodes to protect unwanted individuals to access the device. But Apple is concerned that thieves have easy ways to get around these codes.

The technology would display a random picture or one of the owner's contacts and then ask for their name from the list on the touchscreen or via voice recognition.

Apple stated, "Users sometimes misplace their handheld devices or inadvertently leave them in public places. To dissuade thieves from stealing handheld devices, many software manufacturers require a user to provide input that 'unlocks' the handheld device. Such input may be a passcode of four or more characters. However, this approach for authenticating a user can be easily compromised."

The idea is not circling to identifying people, which means other images such as location can also be used combined with four digits to unlock the device. This kind of technology will determine the difference between an owner and a thief through information that the user may solely know inside the device.

Apple is currently looking for better ways to replace the iOS passcode unlock system. In 2011, Authentec, a biometrics company was hinting the possibility of fingerprint recognition which is used by many devices such as computers and security access for gateways.

Facial Recognition is not new to mobile technology and Android has already implemented such as an option for unlocking Android devices. Ice Cream Sandwich or Android 4.0 is the first generation of the OS to use as its feature and received an improvement in the Jellybean or 4.1/4.2 version of the Android.

Facebook also used the system in 2010 by allowing members to recover forgotten passwords by identifying their friends' profile pictures. No matter what security available for any devices, the best way still is prevent password exploitation and always keep your handheld devices within reach.

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