The Weekly Cypher is specially curated to keep you up-to-date on the latest in cybersecurity, biometrics, and related news and innovations. Here are a few of the headlines you might have missed this week.
Taylor Swift held a concert at California’s Rose Bowl this past May that was monitored by a facial recognition system. The system’s target? Hundreds of Swift’s stalkers. Swift’s facial recognition system was built into a kiosk that displayed highlights of her rehearsals, which would secretly record onlookers’ faces. According to Rolling Stone, which spoke with a concert security expert who observed the kiosk, attendees who looked at the kiosk were immediately scanned. Afterward, the data was sent to a “command post” in Nashville, Tennessee that attempted to match hundreds of images to a database of her known stalkers.
Congress clearly didn’t buy Equifax’s attempt to pin its massive data breach on one lone technician. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee has released a staff report declaring that the breach was “entirely preventable” and the result of widespread, systemic flaws in Equifax’s security policies. The company didn’t have “clear lines of authority” in its IT structure that would have properly enacted policies, for one thing. It also had “complex and outdated” systems that didn’t keep pace with its growth, wasn’t prepared to help victims and made basic security missteps. Equifax let more than 300 security certificates expire, for example, making it difficult to spot intrusions.
When it comes to facial recognition in healthcare and other verticals, many still associate the technology with security and the detection of bad actors based on their facial matching profile. Countries like England and China use facial recognition to apprehend criminals and persons of interest that law enforcement is seeking by cross-checking facial recognition systems that use CCTV feeds. In healthcare, there is a desire to use the technology for more than just security, and it may add significant value to hospitals despite the “Big Brother” concern some have. The use of facial recognition in healthcare has increased in recent years, partly due to advancements in AI that have helped increase the different usages of the technology. The AI-powered facial recognition products in the marketplace have allowed healthcare executives to consider using the technology in a number of different ways that go beyond the security options. The list below highlights some of the potential uses for facial recognition technology in healthcare.
IT decision makers are allocating 10% more funding toward improving customer experience than to security measures, according to an Equifax survey released on Monday. From a sales standpoint, this finding can be easily understood. Often, particularly in sales environments, IT departments are incorrectly seen as money-burning rather than value-adding groups. This causes trepidation for IT departments insisting on new data and user security measures, that, if detrimental to customer experience, can decrease sales. According to the report, cost, effort, time to implement, and staff resources are the primary encumbrances cited by respondents to implementing new fraud detection and prevention tools. Ken Allen, senior vice president of global identity and fraud at Equifax, noted that “More than half of IT professionals use legacy technologies to support their authentication strategies, which is alarming. If IT doesn’t prioritize adopting more advanced solutions and processes, they leave their organizations and their customers vulnerable to fraud, which will negatively impact the customer experience.”
Bethesda recently said that Fallout 76 install bugs “won’t be the last bump in the road,” and those words have proved all too prophetic. Thanks to a support snafu, customers unwittingly exposed their private data, including credit card info, home address and more, to other users. “I am getting your support tickets on my Bethesda account,” said Reddit user Jessiepie. “I now know where you live.” Apparently, the whole thing started when Bethesda released the “Power Armor” edition with what was supposed to be a Brotherhood of Steel helmet and canvas bag. The latter turned out to be a nylon replacement, so Bethesda eventually announced that it would upgrade the bags to canvas. To do so, customers just needed to submit a ticket by January 31st, 2019, and “we’ll arrange to send you a replacement as soon as the bags are ready,” Bethesda tweeted.