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Apple's Face ID security technology may not prove popular with consumers

  • Apple's Face ID system for the new iPhone X is the latest example of biometric security, which uses physical features to verify someone's identity rather than a password.
  • Around 40 percent of consumers believe biometric solutions such as Face ID are too risky and unknown for them to use right now.

Apple presented a facial recognition system as a way for users to unlock the newly unveiled iPhone X, but such security measures may not prove popular with consumers.

Face ID uses advanced 3-D depth perception to scan the user's face. This process is designed to capture more data points and works faster than Apple's Touch ID system, which scans fingerprints.

It is the latest security measure to use biometrics, where technology uses a consumer's face, fingerprint, voice or their behavior to verify their identity, rather than relying on passwords and codes. It also highlights the shift in security culture in recent years, according to Ollie Hayler, business development director for PalmSecure Biometrics at Fujitsu Cyber Security & Enterprise.

"Where biometric solutions were once deemed futuristic and unsafe, it is now commonly accepted that neither using a combination of symbols, numbers and letters nor changing passwords periodically can keep accounts safe from cyber threats," he said in an email to CNBC.

"Passwords and PIN numbers are becoming a thing of the past as they can be copied, stolen, guessed or shared easily. Now thanks to biometrics, customers and businesses alike have a far more secure choice of authentication and verification."

Not only do proponents of biometrics claim it is more secure, they also say it is faster and more convenient for consumers.

But a report released Wednesday said about 40 percent of consumers believe biometric solutions such as Face ID are too risky and unknown for them to use right now. A further 24 percent were not that happy about using biometrics but expect merchants will eventually force them to do so. Just 15 percent in the survey believed everyone could be using biometrics in 2 to 3 years.

The report, called "Lost in Transaction" and produced by global payments provider Paysafe, surveyed 3,038 consumers in the U.K., Canada and the United States about their online shopping behaviors and payment habits.

Source: Apple

The report also found a knowledge and adoption gap among consumers concerning biometric solutions, with 30 percent having never heard of using biometrics to verify identity, while 55 percent had heard of it but had not used it.

However, Hayler believes Face ID could change the culture around biometrics and encourage more adoption of the technology.

"While we don't expect biometric adoption to happen overnight, the proliferation of biometric technologies in consumer devices such as the Apple iPhone will result in consumers becoming more familiar and comfortable with the technology," he said.

"As such, biometric verification of identity on a personal device will, in one way or another, become a standard identification process."

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