New device locking system uses familiar faces instead of password

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 26 June, 2014, 9:58pm
UPDATED : Friday, 27 June, 2014, 12:36am


Imagine a whole new type of password: one that lets you dispense with all those numbers, letters and symbols, but is still impenetrable to attackers.

Researchers at Britain's University of York and the University of Glasgow have created a new password system that could one day allow users to access their bank accounts, their phones or their favourite websites simply by picking out a familiar face from a grid of nine faces, four times in a row.

They call the system Facelock, and according to a new study published in the journal
Peer J, it is teeming with benefits. Most impressively, users were able to log into a test system using Facelock after not using it for a year.

The research team explained that people do not recognise all faces equally. We have no trouble identifying a familiar face across a series of different images that range in quality. But when a face is not familiar, we are likely to think that different images of the same person are images of different people.