By now, you and the whole family have their male or female avatars, thanks to the FaceApp application. The app is making the rounds again on social networks after the free launch of its “gender swap” filter, which has been a welcome distraction from the health crisis in our midst.
Laughter is quite the stress reliever, you know. If you haven’t seen the gender swap filter, click here to see an excellent example. That’s why FaceApp’s hashtag “faceappchallenge” has received hundreds of thousands of shares on Facebook and Instagram.
We do not want to be the killjoy here, but you need to know there have been concerns about the security of the facial recognition application. The risks of sharing this information for privacy reasons have also been raised.
According to Yeo Siang Tiong, general manager for Southeast Asia at Kaspersky, a global cybersecurity company, there’s no harm in using these apps. But he urges “social media users to pay strict attention to how much of their private information will be used and shared by such apps to avoid any risk.”
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Fabio Assolini, a senior security analyst at Kaspersky, assures the FaceApp application does not contain any malicious elements. However, since facial recognition is a technology used mainly for password authentication, the user must be cautious when sharing their image with third parties.
“We have to treat these new forms of authentication as passwords, as any widely available facial recognition system can end up being used for both good and bad,” warns the Kaspersky expert.
According to Assolini, companies that own such apps could potentially facilitate or sell these images to entities that use artificial intelligence to make facial recognition modifications.
“In addition, it must be taken into account that this data is stored on third-party servers and that it can also be stolen by cybercriminals and used to impersonate identities,” he adds.
The analyst recommends that before joining the latest social media challenge, users should be aware of the security of the app and download it only from official stores. He also highlights the importance of reading the privacy terms of the applications to understand what rights and types of access are being requested.
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When downloading applications, Kaspersky recommends that users take the following precautions:
Make sure the app is reliable and is downloaded from official websites.
Read the privacy terms to understand what information is being requested.
Treat facial recognition as a password — don’t use it everywhere.
Always check the permissions being requested, such as the login associated with an existing account in a particular social network.