Are 'selfies' good for cyber security?

The selfie phenomenon has finally reached the big banks and big credit.

Mastercard has created an app that lets you ditch typed passwords in favor of a selfie to verify online purchases.

But will needing a picture make your accounts any more secure than the traditional digit-based password?

"That is going to mitigate some of that fraud," Security Analyst Ken Westin said. "It's going to make it a little bit harder for some of those fraudsters to actually follow through with that particular form of crime."

But, Westin said, using a selfie for user authentication comes with its own risks.

"For example when a credit card number or our passwords are compromised on a website, we can immediately go and change that," Westin said. "When we're dealing with biometrics, that's something we can't change. Your fingerprint, your face, those are things we can't change."

And Westin warned that the additional security layer could make it harder for you to challenge fraudulent charges.

"The credit card company now may say, 'Hey we have a selfie photo of you and the credit card number that was entered with the PIN code, this has to be you.' Now the burden of proof is on you to prove that it wasn't you," Westin said.

But Westin predicts that over the next few years more big companies will start using biometrics like selfies and fingerprints to authenticate purchases.

"Cyber criminals and fraudsters are very smart people," Westin said. "Once this becomes widespread they will find a way to circumvent [biometric security]."

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