The new Windows Hello facial recognition system in Windows 10 allows users to sign in with biometric authentication. The security system is highly accurate in a sense that it can even distinguish between identical twins. In a test conducted by The Australian, not once did the system grant access to the wrong twin.
Just in case you missed it, Microsoft launched Windows 10 a little over a month ago. (If you’re wondering why you missed Windows 9, that’s because it never happened.) One of the celebrated features of the new operating system is called Windows Hello, which Microsoft bills as a more personal way of logging onto Windows 10 devices.
Instead of simply signing into Windows with a password, Windows Hello beefs up user security by letting you use your face, fingerprint, or iris to authenticate yourself, provided your PC’s hardware supports the software requirements. While fingerprints or irises might be hard to fake, we’ve probably all seen enough dodgy facial recognition fails to make us think twice before trusting our user login to a webcam. Windows Hello requires the use of Intel’s RealSense camera, but is it really secure enough to keep lookalikes out?
The Hello Windows system on Windows 10 is one of the standout features of Microsoft’s operating system. It allows users to log on to their PCs with biometric authentication; instead of the conventional password system. Windows 10 allows users to scan their fingerprints, iris or face to access their devices. Designed by Intel, the RealSense 3D camera technology allows the system to accomplish the task.
Here’s what one of the twins, Miriam Jeffrey, told The Australian: “It could distinguish between us two quite easily, it’s a little surprising, I thought it would have failed, but no, it was really good, it was really quick.”
It’s a valid experiment: we may think of twins as making up only a small amount of the population, but it’s a sizeable minority. According to the ATR, one in 40 people is a twin in Australia, and about one-quarter to one-third of those pairs is identical. This makes about 1 percent of the population identical twins, so if Microsoft is rolling out facial recognition as an enterprise-grade security feature, it deserves more than a little scrutiny.
“In the end, there were some cases of Windows Hello taking its time to identify a twin, but no case of it wrongly granting access. That’s a win for Intel and Microsoft,”writes The Australian’s Chris Griffith.
“It could distinguish between us two quite easily,” said Miriam Jeffrey, who tested the feature along her twin sister, Annabelle. “It’s a little surprising, I thought it would have failed, but no, it was really good, it was really quick.”
As per market researcher Gartner, it is estimated that over 30% of the organizations would require biometric authentication by 2016. Over 200 companies including Microsoft, Alibaba, Lenovo, and MasterCard are already vouching for better authentication standards to be adopted worldwide. In 2013, they came together to set up FIDO(Fast Identity Online Alliance) to reduce reliance on typed passwords.