Posts tagged "Security"

Get Ready for Face-Recognition on iPhone, Apple files Patent

The latest buzz is that ‘face-recognition’ considered being one of the most sought after privacy tools in the recent time might now come to your iPhone and iPad too. Apple Inc. known for its persistent affinity towards innovation at the highest level has filed for a patent at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. In a recent free publication, the patent Office has divulged details of Apple’s applicationto offer “low-computational” face recognition capabilities.

“This specification relates to low threshold face recognition, e.g., a face recognition system that can tolerate a certain level of false positives in making face recognition determinations.

Most face recognition systems fall into one of two categories. A first category system tends to be robust and can tackle various lighting conditions, orientations, scale and the like, and tends to be computationally expensive. A second category system is specialized for security-type applications and can work under controlled lighting conditions. Adopting the first category systems for face recognition on consumer operated portable appliances that are equipped with a camera would unnecessarily use an appliance’s computing resources and drain its power. Moreover, as the consumer portable appliances tend to be used both indoor and outdoor, the second category systems for face recognition may be ineffective”.

So, how will it help…

The ‘face-recognition’ tool will help iOS users with a forward-facing camera device to customize their profile with personalized wallpaper, apps and settings. Therefore, your profile cannot be accessed by anyone other than the face recognised by the device.

Face-recognition technology for devices has recently been adapted by several makers for their products. However, there have been a serious many debate as to if the robust facial recognition systems that worked under various lighting conditions could be taxing on an electronic device. Apple’s technology on the other hand, proposes to help reduce the impact of lighting conditions and biometric distortions on an image. In the application filed, Apple Inc. has described it as a “low-computation solution for reasonably effective, low threshold, face recognition that can be implemented on camera-equipped consumer portable appliances”.

Thereby, instead of analyzing the entire face of a user, which Apple believes would consume much time and resources, the Cupertino Company’s proposed patent would depend on “high information portion” of a human face, such as the eyes, mouth and tip of the nose. It would rather seek to measure the distance between a user’s eyes and mouth, and reference this against the original image to ascertain the identity of the user. The patent application stresses on the fact that owing to the low power consumption, the face-recognition function could be constantly active; thus potentially allowing users to turn on the screen and unlock their iOS device by pointing it at their face.

What are your views on this ‘face-recognition’ system patent sought after by Apple? Do you think this will prove to be a useful tool?

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Posted by plates55 - January 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Categories: Apple   Tags: , , , , , , ,

Passwords to become fossils by 2017?

Summary: IBM’s predictions for the next five years — fossilized passwords and biometric scanning for all.

IBM recently released its annual tradition of five predictions for five years in to the future — among them, the belief that passwords will become redundant.Generation Y, rejoice! No longer will you struggle with attempting to remember the password for your Facebook account, Twitter, Gmail, games networks — the list goes on. We’ve all had those moments, cursing under our breath, when after three attempts you are locked out justas you remember the actual word and number combination. Or even worse, forced to fill out mud-smear captchas until your eyes start to swim.According to IBM, future generations won’t need to suffer this kind of hardship.



Not much has changed in the last five years. When it comes to computer security, most of us still rely on passwords and username log-in systems to protect our private data and access our accounts. Some companies, for example EyeNet Watch,  offer fingerprint recognition software. However, this kind of technology is rarely used by the general public.

IMB is developing technology that views facial definitions, eye scans, voice files and even DNA as personal safeguards to a far more extreme extent than now.

The company wants to replace words and numbers with security based on your biological makeup, and create unique DNA based profiles that will serve as your ‘password’ for a variety of tasks. These could include going to an ATM, logging in to your computer, and perhaps going as far as signing in to individual online services like Facebook or Twitter.

By using personal data that is far more difficult to forge than simply guessing or learning a password, IBM believes this type of security will be far more appealing than the memory-based approach currently employed.

That is, if people want it. Personally, I’m not keen on the idea of more DNA profiles, even for security measures. It smacks of the U.K government’s failure to introduce biometric I.D cards. A question we probably don’t ask ourselves enough is: how much personal information are we comfortable for organisations to hold on us?

We are yet to see whether this kind of technology, which is likely to be far more expensive to produce, will make its way in to the general public market — or whether it will remain firmly in the grip of security companies and elitist technology.

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Posted by plates55 - January 1, 2012 at 9:29 pm

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A look back at 2011’s Microsoft’s security landscape

Decrease in Critical Issues and Bulletins

As far as individual issues, Critical-class CVEs accounted for less than a third of the issues we addressed in bulletin releases for the first time since we began our monthly bulletin-release cadence in 2004. And in absolute numbers, Critical-class CVEs are at their lowest levels since 2005. The fact that we’re seeing lower percentages of Critical issues and bulletins year-over-year demonstrates progress made by the product groups in creating more secure software.

With this regularly scheduled monthly release, our bulletin count for 2011 is 99, with 13 released today. Of those, we determined 10 to be Important-class bulletins, with only three classified as Critical in severity. In 2011, Critical-class bulletins represented just 32 percent of all bulletins – the lowest percentage since we began our monthly bulletin-release cadence in 2004 and, again, the lowest absolute number since 2005. Interestingly, for the second half of the year the numbers are even lower, with under 20 percent of bulletins released in the last six months rated Critical in severity.

Even though there are fewer Critical-class security updates year-over-year, we know that any update has the potential to be disruptive for customers. And so we work hard to make our update process as smooth and transparent as possible for customers – with no surprises. As part of that commitment, in 2011 we were able to address reported security issues effectively without resorting to emergency releases outside of the regular scheduled monthly releases. We understand the disruption that these “out-of-cycle” releases create for customers, and we take the decision to release an update out of cycle very seriously. Effective coordination with product teams, greater use of threat telemetry, the ability to release workarounds, and the ability to release defenses through partners like those in Microsoft’s Active Protection Program (MAPP) have all helped us to release all our 2011 bulletins in the usual monthly process. We’re glad about that, even though we will always reserve the right to release out-of-cycle if the situation merits it.

Continue: A look back at 2011’s security landscape – MSRC – Site Home – TechNet Blogs

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Posted by plates55 - December 15, 2011 at 5:09 pm

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