Just how secure is Microsoft's Windows 10 new Windows Hello facial recognition system? Even your identical twin won't be able to break into your PC, according to a test carried out by The Australian.
Six pairs of identical twins took part in the newspaper's test, which was reported last week. One twin created a new Windows 10 account on a Lenovo ThinkPad and registered his or her face with the system. The other twin would then try to log in.
The result: In each of the six cases, Hello did as advertised and blocked the corresponding twin from logging in.
Microsoft's focus on biometric security may come as welcome news to Internet users. Recent improvements across the board in biometric security, including facial recognition and fingerprint scanning, mean the day of the typed password could soon be over. And, given their relative insecurity, typed passwords are becoming unsuitable for the kind of tasks that are performed over the Internet on a daily basis.
Late last year, over 1.2 billion passwords were stolen by Russian hackers, a sobering reminder of the archaic nature of a security system that wasn't designed with the modern Internet in mind.
Of course, while the Windows Hello facial detection test performed on twins isn't quite a foolproof scientific experiment, it does demonstrate the strength of the security feature. Microsoft claims that it provides "enterprise-grade security without having to type in a password."
Besides facial recognition, Windows Hello also supports fingerprint and iris recognition to secure your PC. For facial recognition though, Microsoft isn't going it alone -- the Redmond-based company has partnered with chipmaker Intel for its RealSense 3D camera tech to get the job done.
RealSense uses depth-sensing infrared cameras to track the location and positions of objects, which Microsoft then uses to scan a person's face or iris before unlocking the device in question.
Looking ahead, market researcher Gartner believes that by as soon as 2016, over 30 percent of organizations will require biometric authentication.
More than 200 companies including Microsoft, Lenovo, Alibaba and MasterCard have already come together to form a partnership known as the FIDO (Fast Identity Online) Alliance. Founded in 2013, FIDO was set up to address issues such as a worldwide adoption of standards for authentication processes over the Web to help reduce reliance on passwords.