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Microservices Expo: Article

The Wearable-Gesture Security Risk Danger Zone

At this point it has to be said that, inconveniently but truthfully, new user paradigms always bring security risks

This post is sponsored by The Business Value Exchange and HP Enterprise Services

There are only two certainties in life - death and taxes, said Benjamin Franklin. What the theorist and founding father clearly meant was: There are only three certainties in life - death and taxes and information security changeability.

In the constantly changing dynamic world of malware, viral attacks, spam, phishing, zero days attacks and targeted exploits we know only one thing for sure - tomorrow will bring new insight.

This somewhat generic introduction is merely offered to whet the appetite and suggest that we are on the edge of a new "device paradigm" in the form of a) wearable technology combined with a side order of of b) facial recognition served up with a more meaty portion of c) emerging gesture recognition technology.

New Paradigm, New Risk
At this point it has to be said that, inconveniently but truthfully, new user paradigms always bring security risks.

Just look at what has been happening at Google this month; the firm filed a patent this June detailing facial and gesture recognition technology that has already been (in another form) incorporated into Android in the shape of what was known as a human "liveness check" at the time.

This was Google playing with incorporating "user blinking" into the Jelly Bean release of Android. This means of Human Computer Interaction (HCI) was used to detect if a person is "live" or whether it is just an image of a person being shown to the camera. A user blinks at the camera to prove that they are human.

This so-called "facial landmarking" (it turns out) is easy enough to fool with a simple pair of alternating "dead" and "live" images - one with eyes shut, one with eyes open.

Privacy Is Never Far Away from Security
Google Glass has obviously made plenty of headlines in terms of its newness and wow-factor, but also for the privacy questions it throws up as users suddenly get a face-mounted video camera. Privacy is never far away from security and Google Glass is no exception; these cloud services powered devices will naturally have their own shape of applications and interfaces, which ultimately represent freshly laden snow for the malicious hacker attacker.

This subject demands far more detailed analysis and this is merely an ‘amuse- bouche' of interjected commentary to direct our thinking as these devices start to become commonplace, if they indeed do take off in terms of popularity.

Not many of us are saying, "I got a virus from my glasses," or indeed, "My RFID-enabled sports T-shirt needs rebooting," or even, "My gesture-based password identifier doesn't recognize the silly face I am pulling to try and log in, maybe I have been hacked by a liveness-bot." But these technologies HCI and wearable technologies will very likely form part of the fabric (ouch! no pun intended, sorry) of our next computing landscape. So forewarned is forearmed.

More Stories By Adrian Bridgwater

Adrian Bridgwater is a freelance journalist and corporate content creation specialist focusing on cross platform software application development as well as all related aspects software engineering, project management and technology as a whole.

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