Cry

No biometrics on your mobile device? You’re close to total disaster

Those who choose not to enable biometric security for their mobile device because of fear of Big Brother are one step away from a total security disaster.

But before I can explain why this can result in total security disaster, I need to address this irrational Big Brother fear…

Why is this Big Brother fear irrational?

I know there are some people who will not want their mobile devices to store information about their biometrics (e.g. thumbprint, face). There can be many reasons for such a fear, but it all boils down to the fear of Big Brother.

However, I think this fear is misplaced for the following reasons:

Big Brother already has your biometrics

It’s already too late. Why?

Do you have a passport? Drivers’ license? Or other forms of government-issued photo ID?

Big Brother already has your face in their databases. With your face, they can deploy widespread facial recognition technologies in public places. In some countries, your government-issued ID has a copy of your thumbprint.

So, withholding your face or thumbprint from your device will not make any difference in protecting your privacy. You already have lost it.

Your biometrics are already everywhere in public

If you appear in public, your face is already being recorded on surveillance cameras everywhere. Your thumbprint is already out in the public. Each time you hold a glass in a pub, restaurant, cafe, etc, you are leaving your thumbprint behind. Each time you touch something in public, you are leaving traces of your thumbprint behind.

You have already given your biometrics to social media

Most of us have a social media account. You have probably shared photos that include your face. Your face is already being collected by Big Tech. If you have a LinkedIn account, you probably have a headshot portrait as your profile photo.

So, it is already too late.

Biometrics is safest in your device

If you store your biometrics data in your Apple device, it is in the safest place. Apple has explained how your face and thumbprint are secured to protect your privacy. Your biometric information is stored within the Secure Enclave of your device, which is out of reach to even the kernel of the operating system, and never leaves your device.

Most Android devices will have similar levels of protection for your biometrics.

Logical inconsistency and contradiction

But what if you choose not to believe Apple (or Samsung, or Google, etc) regarding the privacy of your biometrics?

Then you should not be using their device in the first place.

The moment you use an iPhone, you are already implicitly trusting Apple. Therefore, it makes no sense to use an iPhone but at the same time, withhold your biometrics because you distrust them. Either you trust Apple or you don’t. If you don’t, you should not be using their devices in the first place. If you don’t trust them but use their devices and withhold your biometrics, then how do you know your Apple device is not secretly collecting data about your biometrics (e.g. secretly scanning your face with the TrueDepth camera)? If you use an Apple device but withhold your biometrics, it makes no sense to contradict your distrust of Apple by implicitly trusting them not to surreptitiously collect your biometric data.

One step away from a cybersecurity disaster

Now, if you choose not to use biometrics to secure your mobile devices, you have to be aware that it takes only a moment of carelessness to have a total cybersecurity disaster.

It is already happening. There is a crime ring that specialises in stealing iPhones and causes their victims to lose the following as well:

  • Lost control of Apple ID
  • Unable to track iPhone via “Find My”
  • Exposed all their passwords
  • All files, photos, contacts, and notes are exposed- everything stored on iCloud
  • Lost money in their bank account through an unauthorised bank transfer
  • Fraud on their debit/credit card

Please note that a similar vulnerability exists for Android phones as well. It is not just Apple devices.

This is how victims lost everything…

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