The contribution of internet connectivity towards e-commerce cannot be underestimated. Today, if you want to purchase something online, all you need is entering your credit card details and password. However, as technology becomes more sophisticated so do hackers. It is for this reason that MasterCard is seeking to use
facial recognition to verify online transactions. What the card issuer is seeking to achieve is a way of securing transactions made via the internet. Identity theft has resulted in theft worth millions of dollars. The company has also received complaints from card holders urging it to come up with secure solutions for using plastic money online.
Once this experiment goes through, you will be required to take a photo image using your Smartphone. Your image will serve as proof of identity. Facial recognition will only apply in situations where you do not need to have your card with you physically. Online purchases do not require you to swipe your card. All it takes is the card number, expiry date, the name you used when registering for the card and a CVV number. A CVV number consists of the last three digits that are printed at the back of your debit or credit card. The initials CVV stand for Credit Verification Value. In MasterCard and Visa cards, the CVV has three digits while American Express cards have a numeric CVV code of four digits. At the initial testing phase, MasterCard plans to request users to
upload short video clips. In the clip, you must capture footage of yourself smiling or gesturing. This action will serve as proof that what you send to the card issuer is not a photo. Despite providing scanty details of the process at this stage, MasterCard officials agree that use of passwords has been cumbersome. In any case, it is common practice among card users to forget their passwords. If you have tried retrieving a credit or debit card
password, you will concur that it is not an easy thing to do.
Apple Inc. uses a similar concept where phone users store their fingerprints in their phones. When an Apple phone user wants to make a purchase on Apple Store, the phone’s software requests you to make a fingerprint impression. After making the impression, the phone compares it with a previously stored
image. If the two match, there is an approval given to proceed with the purchase.
In MasterCard’s case, you will have to upload a video clip and send it to the card provider. The image is then stored in MasterCard servers. This technology is different from that of taking a photo and storing it in your phone. The software MasterCard intends to use will analyze your facial structure in 3D (three dimensions). If anyone was to access the company’s data files, they cannot see what you look like. It remains to be seen what other features MasterCard will introduce considering variations in software for processing images. The company must also take care of differences in devices used to capture video images and the company’s servers. Nonetheless, this is an interesting technology that we are keeping a close watch on. We will keep our readers posted about this development in future issues of Secure Magazine and on this blog.