Online fraud is a massive industry. This is much more than utilizing phony logos or Nigerian Prince scams, but the actual building of trust with individuals online, as well as hacking into massive corporate email systems (compromising IP and personal data of the business and customers). The rise of facial recognition technology has put forth some promise that there could be a change in our online security, but at what cost? We’re here to break down how it’s all happening.
The Frequency Of Online Fraud
While we often think of online fraud as phishing email schemes or phony giveaways, the practice is much more widespread than you might believe. According to the FBI’s report on internet fraud, in 2017, online fraud accounted for nearly $1.4 billion in losses, including sizeable contributions from catfishing/confidence fraud, nonpayment/delivery, and business email account compromises; other items include those you’d assume including data breaches and credit card fraud. That’s a pretty staggering figure (especially when you consider that the top contenders are catfishing and nonpayment), which begs the question: why does online fraud occur?
Why It Happens
The biggest reason why online fraud is successful boils down to trust. Just look at the examples above with catfishing and nonpayment as both practices essentially rely on you to trust that the person on the other end is not only who they say they are but also honest about their intentions. And while we might think that we’ll never be duped, sometimes being a victim of online fraud is less about being fooled and more about not being protected.
Even though we hear all the time how we should regularly change our passwords or add multi-factor authentication, people often feel those items aren’t always enough. According to a 2017 survey presented by Experian, 73 percent of Americans are concerned that their financial or social media accounts are regularly at risk of being hacked. The misconception about security is that it’s not necessarily a hacker in some distant land looking to steal your credit card number; it’s most likely one of your Instagram followers looking for personal information to guess your password. Most hacking isn’t as sophisticated as we make it out to be, but rather a simple guessing game of your personal information; and with most of what we put online never feeling personal, how can things like facial recognition help?
Where Facial Recognition Comes Into Play
Chances are, facial recognition is technology that you already have gotten used to. What’s practically become the norm in security for devices like the iPhone, facial recognition is essentially compiling a map of your face using the data points of your unique features that are then compiled into a composite figure. Think of this as similar to taking a picture of you, only with a bunch of tiny dots that recognize who you are based on your structural makeup. How we use facial recognition has spawned a number of different solutions, where some might surprise you.
As the core function of facial recognition is identity protection, a lot of different sectors have started to utilize this for an array of uses. For example, 72 percent of hotel operators expect to be using facial recognition software for checking in guests within the next four years, which would help with both identity theft and check-in. Other industries have been utilizing this technology for identifying bad actors; for example, casino face recognition lets pit bosses see who’s counting cards. Tying your identity in real life with facial recognition is both a gift and a curse, because when cross-compared with facial recognition from our phone or computers can help verify our identity, and in turn, keep our information safe (both on and offline); however, that’s not to say some people don’t have concerns over privacy.
But What About Our Privacy?
Although we often view things like facial recognition as a means of improving privacy and security, the opposite can also happen if we’re not careful. According to Pew Research, only 9 percent of social media users feel as though they have a lot of control over how their information is being used online. For example, the permission to listen to your voice when your phone is active is something a lot of tech companies have tried sneaking into their user agreements. When you apply that same technology to facial recognition, the concern over marketers and advertisers trying to monetize facial recognition in public places and businesses might be of concern. Still, that’s not to say there isn’t a bright future ahead for facial recognition and how it can be used to protect us online.
As we’ve seen the impact of what happens when we trade security for privacy, what facial recognition could bring might help balance the scales a little more. When it comes down to it, the benefits of having it be the first line of defense between you and online fraud is a pretty key function, which as long as it’s used responsibly, could be a game changer.
How do you feel about the relationship between privacy, fraud, and security and facial recognition? Comment with your insights below!
More on this topic: What to do When Phished