ATM PIN codes just took another step toward irrelevance after researchers in China unveiled what appears to be the first facial recognition cash machine. The machine allows users to withdraw money only if an image of their face matches the information on their debit card, an invention that comes as thieves and hackers find ever-more inventive ways to steal banking information.
Here's how it works: A camera affixed to the ATM just above the screen automatically captures an image of the customer and compares the biological traits – things like distance between a person's eyes, the shape of their mouth, or the distance between their nose and chin, for instance – to a database of pictures of bank customers. The technology is the product of research conducted by Tsinghua University and Tzekwan, a Chinese cybersecurity company, according to the Xinhua news agency.
It;s not clear who will make the ATM technology or wther and when this kind of ATM security will be released in the United States. But if international banking customers are going to continue relying on ATMs, then financial institutions need to provide better protection.
While the number of attacks on ATMs is down worldwide, the amount of money lost in such attacks is climbing, according to a recent report from the European ATM Security Team. International ATM fraud jumped from $255 million in 2013 to $300 million in 2014, the report found.